Seems I am stuck back in the sixties for the last couple of days, seeking home-cooked comfort food. Whilst in the local mega-mart, I found a stunning array of brassicas, spinach, cabbage, kohlrabi, etc, but the one that caught my eye and fancy was the collard greens.
Collard greens can be daunting to prepare, but once one has the knowledge the task is simple.
- Wash all the greens in a sink full of water.
- Refill and wash again.
- Cut the thick central ribs out of the collard greens
- stack the leaves on top of one another
- Starting at one end, roll them up into cigar shape
- Slice across the roll to make skinny rolls of collard strips.
- make your slices as thin as possible, ideally about 1/8-inch.
Collard is a group of certain loose-leafed cultivars of Brassica oleracea, the same species as many common vegetables including cabbage (Capitata group) and broccoli (Italica group). Collard is a member of the Viridis group of Brassica oleracea. American collard cultivars are more correctly placed in the Viridis cultivar group due to a high genetic similarity with cabbage, although older publications often include them within the Acephala group (kale). The name “collard” comes from the word “colewort” (a medieval term for non-heading brassica crops).
Collard greens are a staple vegetable in Southern U.S. cuisine. They are often prepared with other similar green leaf vegetables, such as spinach, kale, turnip greens, and mustard greens in the dish called “mixed greens”. Typically used in combination with collard greens are smoked and salted meats (ham hocks, smoked turkey drumsticks, smoked turkey necks, pork neckbones, fatback or other fatty meat), diced onions, vinegar, salt, and black pepper, white pepper, or crushed red pepper, and some cooks add a small amount of sugar. Traditionally, collards are eaten on New Year’s Day, along with black-eyed peas or field peas and cornbread, to ensure wealth in the coming year.
Cornbread is used to soak up the “pot liquor”, a nutrient-rich collard broth. Collard greens may also be thinly sliced and fermented to make a collard sauerkraut that is often cooked with flat dumplings.
- 4-6 Slices Bacon Thick Cut, cut to 1/2" pieces
- 1 ea Onion Peeled, diced
- 2 cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup Vinegar Apple Cider is great here
- 2 lb Collard Greens Washed, Stemmed, Sliced to 1/8"
- 2 tbsp Sugar Optional
- 1 cup Chicken Stock
- Hot Sauce To taste
- Add the bacon to a large skillet over medium heat, and cook until it begins to brown around the edges, stirring occasionally.
- Add the onion and cook until it's softened and starting to take color.
- Add the garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, and hot sauce.
- Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the vinegar and simmer. We are reducing by half and scraping the bottom of the skillet.
- Add the collard greens and the chicken stock.
- Return to a simmer. Reduce the temperature to medium-low.
- Cook, occasionally stirring, until the collard greens have wilted.
- Taste, Season, and balance the flavor, adding vinegar and hot sauce as desired.
- Serve with pot liquor (sauce) from the pan.
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