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


Ulla said...

I LOVE collard greens!
That looks SO good, I am now craving this!

Laura's mom said...

Do you think you can post the recipe for the pork on the side? That looks fabulous.

By the way, I've never posted on your site before. Congratulations on your new baby. May the force be with you. I thought the first year was a REAL challenge.

I've made your rhubarb cake (twice) which is absolutely delicious and this summer I must have made your gaspacho at least 3 or 4 times. Fantastic..

Helen said...

Hi Laura's Mom,

Thank you so much for your comment and your good wishes in the land of motherhood :)

It's actually duck breast, not pork. I don't have much time at the moment, but I'll try to write up the recipe and post it soon.


Anonymous said...

Coming from a southern girl, the best way in the whole world to eat collard greens is with tonnnnnnnnnnns of ham and salt and thats it. no vinegar or sugar at all. try that sometime and it is wonderful. you have to use country ham that not cooked to death. it has to be baked country ham, you can get really good baked country ham in kentucky. leave some of the fat on there. delicious. i love being southern :)


PS- I'll be really glad when you have time to post more things because I really miss reading this every day!

Helen said...

Hi Madison,

Thanks for the tip on ham with collard greens. What cooking method do you use for the greens (slow braise like the recipe I posted or something different)?


Trevor said...

I may try this with my mustard greens.

Helen said...

Hi Trevor,

I think mustard greens are much thinner than collards, so they'll need less cooking time.

Good luck :)


Anonymous said...

I agree with Helen about the Mustard Greens... And don't concern yourself about not particularly liking Tilapia... It's not a fish. It's just a poop eater with fins and scales.

Anonymous said...

You're supposed to boil them in a pot for a long time. I'm not sure what braising means :-[


Helen said...

Oceanguy: it's good to know I am not alone in my dislike of tilapia ;)

Madison: don't worry about not knowing all the cooking terms -- you got the right idea -- braising is cooking in a pot with a little liquid over low heat. So, I think we are talking about the same thing.


heatherly said...

I love your site and thought I would de-lurk because I love collard greens. My favourite way to cook and eat them is to saute them in butter then add salt (probably too much for most peoples taste), pepper and rosemary. I actually leave them on med-high heat for about 15-20 min until the edges get really crispy. Then I pile them on top of soups (potato, tomato, bean, etc...).

Helen said...

Hi Heather,

Thanks for the saute in butter suggestion. I'll try it sometimes :)


SteamyKitchen said...

Hi Helen,

I love Collard Green! I don't get to eat it often though, as my husband doesn't like it much. But you know what - I think I'm just going to serve it anyways!


Anonymous said...

I love colored greens too. I was cooking some today and i could not remember what kind of vinegar to use so i went looking online and found your site.your recipe seemed more on the vegan side. the old timers still use ham hocks,the sugar and vinegar is to balance the acid in the do you make your talapia? i kind of like it myself fried dry with cornmeal and flour mix batter or baked in the oven with lots of peppers and spice.

Martin said...

This sounds great! I've got my favorite recipe for collards posted.
You're a cooking instructor, could you take a look and tell me what you think? It's my own interpretation.

Anonymous said...

You can make a delicious vegetarian version of this with olive oil and veggie stock instead of bacon fat and chicken broth. Also, I leave the lid off so that as the liquid reduces, the flavor really packs into the greens. Thank you so much for the cider braised recipe (I have been searching for a good one.)

By the way, yes, I am southern (NC) and I grew up eating my greens and everything else seasoned with pork. I really prefer this now; try it if you are adventurous! :0)