It’s How We Roll

A couple of weeks ago Aaron came home from a business trip, buzzed with excitement. The trip was cool for him on multiple levels: he got to hang out with a famous NBA player, sit courtside at an NBA game and most importantly, he got to taste the food prepared by the basketball player’s personal chef. Aaron said to me, “I wish I had a personal chef.” To which I replied, “You do. ME. Now wash this dish.”

Tonight he took a stab at replicating the dish prepared by the chef. And while he grimaced at how it wasn’t the same and plans to tweak and master the recipe over time, I thought he did a stellar job.

Behold, Soul Rolls:

What it took for 12 rolls:

* 12 egg roll wrappers

* 2 cups cooked wild and brown rice

* 1 can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained

* 1 can red beans, rinsed and drained

* 2 cups collard greens (or mustard greens, or spinach even!)

* 3 cloves garlic, minced

* 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

* 1 tsp. chili powder

* 1 tsp. cajun seasoning

* 1/2 tsp. all purpose seasoning

* 1 tsp. cumin

* 1 tsp. brown sugar

* 1 Tbs. dijon mustard

* 1 cup vegetable oil, plus 1 Tbs.

* coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add all the spices and let bloom for 30 seconds. Add the garlic and bloom for another minute. Add the beans, mustard and brown sugar. Cook for roughly 5 minutes, letting the beans take on the spices. Stir in the rice and collard greens and let cook for another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper and tweak any other spice that needs it.

On a cutting board, lay each wrapper flat and spoon about 1/2 cup of the beans and rice mixture in the center. Roll up and with a little water, dab the end of the wrapper and seal the roll. Repeat process 11 more times.

Heat the cup of oil in a medium skillet over high. With tongs, place each roll into the hot oil and fry for about 20 to 30 seconds per side. This goes by quickly, so keep an eye on them. Stack the fried rolls on a plate with some paper towels, to drain any excess oil.

Dig in! Oh, you can make a little dipping sauce too. I had ranch with a little hot sauce swirled in. Man, oh man. I liked soul rolls.

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