RECIPE

Trisha Yearwood's collard-stuffed wontons with hot honey pimento sauce are the best new comfort food

"I promise you’ve never tasted a collard green like this!" Yearwood writes in her new book "Trisha's Kitchen

By Joseph Neese

Published October 31, 2021 1:00PM (EDT)

Collard Stuffed Wontons (Ben Fink)
Collard Stuffed Wontons (Ben Fink)

Excerpted from TRISHA’S KITCHEN: Easy Comfort Food for Friends and Family © 2021 by Trisha Yearwood with Beth Yearwood Bernard. Photography © 2021 by Ben Fink. Reproduced by permission of Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Like Trisha Yearwood, my favorite greens are also collards. Though preparing this vegetable is labor-intensive, few things are as rewarding as when you finally take a bite and taste the flavor inside each and every leaf.

One reason I don't make collards regularly is they take a lot of time to make — we're talking hours. Luckily, Yearwood simplifies things for the home hook in "Trisha's Kitchen," her new cookbook of easy comfort food recipes. Included among the 125 recipes is a new way to make collard greens in a matter of minutes. 

"The Instant Pot recipe takes you about 15 minutes, and it's really flavorful," Yearwood told me on a recent episode of "Salon Talks." "Usually, collards have some sort of ham hock or something in them. This has a little bit of bacon in there — and it's so good."

After Yearwood had already finished her game-changing collards recipe, a friend told her about trying fried collard green wontons at a restaurant. 

"I was like, 'I don't know what's in that, but I'm going to figure that out,' and so we kind of spun that recipe," Yearwood said. "We used the recipe from the Instant Pot for that with a sweet dipping sauce, and it sounds kind of crazy — but it's so good."

As with her breakfast lasagna, the collard-stuffed wontons, which Yearwood serves with a hot honey pimento sauce, were a huge hit with Garth Brooks. 

RELATED: Trisha Yearwood on family recipes and the power of love

"Garth actually doesn't think he likes collard greens either because he's not a southerner," Yearwood said. "But he came through when I was making those, and didn't know what they were and he pretty much ate them all. And then I said, 'You just ate collard greens,' so that was really cool."

When Yearwood recently appeared on "Salon Talks," we talked about her new cookbook, the importance of family, the joys of southern cooking and the secret ingredient that fuels her kitchen. You're going to want to invite your friends over for brunch next weekend after you hear about these exciting new recipes. To learn more, watch our conversation on Youtube or read our conversation here.

***

"Anybody who knows me knows that collards are my favorite greens. I'm always looking for ways to serve them. Other than my traditional childhood method of spooning over fresh cornbread (yum), I have used them in very nontraditional ways, in place of grape leaves for Mediterranean dolmas, sweetened with brown sugar for a crispy side, and even mixed into a grits casserole! I use Instant Pot–braised collards for these wontons. If you don't do spicy, just use regular honey in the sweet dipping sauce. You can substitute a different leafy green in these wontons, but I promise you've never tasted a collard green like this!" — Trisha Yearwood

***

Recipe: Collard-Stuffed Wontons 

Serves 6 to 8

Hot Honey Pimento Sauce

  • 1/4 cup hot honey
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pureed pimentos
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch 

Wontons

  • 1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 cup Instant Pot Collard Greens (see below), drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 32 square wonton wrappers

1. MAKE THE SAUCE: In a small saucepan, mix together the honey, vinegar, and pimentos over low heat. In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon water and the cornstarch until the cornstarch dissolves, creating a slurry. Add the slurry to the honey mixture, stir, and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Set aside. As the sauce cools, it will thicken even more.

2. MAKE THE WONTONS: Pour the oil into a heavy bottomed medium Dutch oven (it should come about 1 1/2 inches up the sides). Clip a deep-fry thermometer to its side and heat the oil over high heat to 350°F. Fit a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and set it nearby.

3. While the oil is heating up, in a medium bowl, combine the collards, cream cheese, and pepper and whip using a hand mixer until combined, about 1 minute.

4. Fill a small bowl with a few tablespoons of water and lay out half the wonton wrappers on a clean surface. Add about 3/4 tablespoon of the cream cheese filling to just the side of the center of each wrapper. Dip your fingertip in the water and wet the edges of one wrapper all the way around, then fold over into a triangle and press the edges together. Set aside and repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

5. Working in batches of about 6, fry the wontons in the hot oil for 1 to 2 minutes, until they are a light golden brown, using a slotted spoon to flip them to cook both sides. Transfer the wontons with the slotted spoon to the rack to drain and cool slightly. Repeat to fry the remaining wontons.

6. Serve the wontons with the hot honey pimento sauce for dipping.

***

Recipe: Instant Pot Collard Greens

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion (I like Vidalia), halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 bunches collard greens, ribs removed and leaves cut into 2-inch-wide strips
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock

1. In an Instant Pot set to Sauté, combine the bacon, salt, and black pepper and sauté for 6 minutes. Add the onion and sauté for 4 minutes more. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Add the vinegar and deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, then let the liquid reduce for about 2 minutes. Stir in the honey and red pepper flakes.v

3. Add the collard greens and chicken stock and stir. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, select Manual, and set to cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes, then manually release the remaining pressure.


Want more great food writing and recipes? Subscribe to "The Bite," Salon Food's newsletter.


More from Trisha's kitchen: 


Joseph Neese

Joseph Neese is the Managing Editor of Salon. You can follow him on Twitter: @josephneese.

MORE FROM Joseph NeeseFOLLOW josephneese


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Appetizers Collard Greens Food Garth Brooks Pimentos Recipe Trisha Yearwood Trisha's Kitchen Wontons