Friday, October 19, 2007

Braised Collard Greens

"Oh please! Not collard greens again," I thought looking at the huge floppy leaves sticking out of the CSA bags Jason carried into the kitchen.

When people ask me if there is a fish or a vegetable I don't like, I often have a hard time coming up with an example. But even omnivore like me has some that I simply can't get excited about. Shh -- don't tell anyone, but I am not crazy about tilapia and as far as the veggies go I used hate collard greens. I still haven't found a recipe to convert me into tilapia lover, but collard greens are no longer unwanted guests in my kitchen.

After trying every cooking technique that I've successfully used on collard greens' cousins, swiss chard and kale, and ending up with tasteless tough leaves, I finally threw in a towel and looked up a recipe on epicurious. With Sammy's short naps there was no time to research them in detail, so I sorted them by rating and picked the one that most people were happy with. Well, I am a believer now. Collard greens can be good. All you need is some bacon, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and a VERY long cooking time.


1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into fourths
3 medium red or yellow onions, chopped coarse (about 3 cups)
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 pounds collard greens (that's about 2 bunches), coarse stems and
ribs discarded and leaves and thin stems washed well, drained, and
chopped coarse

In a deep heavy kettle cook bacon in 2 batches over moderate heat until crisp and transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons drippings and in drippings remaining in kettle cook onions, stirring occasionally, until browned slightly and softened. Transfer onions with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

To kettle add broth, vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and about half of bacon, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add about half of collards, tossing until wilted slightly, and add remaining collards, tossing until combined. Simmer collards, covered, 30 minutes. Stir in onions and simmer, covered, 30 minutes more, or until collards are very tender.

Serve collards topped with remaining bacon.

Adopted from Gourmet, December 1995