[Photograph: Brys Stephens]

Unlike most Southern cookbooks, Brys Stephens's book, The New Southern Table, does not include a recipe for slow-cooked collard greens. Instead, he prefers to cook the hearty green more quickly with boldly flavored ingredients, or to use it as a creative substitute for other greens, like these lamb-stuffed collards. In it, blanched collard greens are treated like grape leaves and wrapped around a seasoned lamb and bulgur mixture. The wraps are baked in an easy tomato sauce and a generous pour of white wine, which penetrates and flavors the gently cooked greens.

Why I picked this recipe: Despite my affinity for all things lamb and leafy greens, I hadn't thought to combine the two in this way.

What worked: Stephens is smart to use the same skillet to sauté the lamb and build the sauce; the tomatoes will deglaze the pan and carry the caramelized bits from the lamb. The result is a cohesive and comforting dish.

What didn't: No problems here.

Suggested tweaks: You could substitute ground beef or ground dark turkey meat for the lamb if you must. Large curly kale leaves would work in place of the collards. If you need to make the dish gluten-free, you could probably use quinoa or millet instead of the bulgur.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The New Southern Table to give away this week.


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