I've had a few requests for greens recipes recently, so here are my top two:
UnClassic Collard Greens and Breakfast Greens
I recently tried a few different recipes for collards, but I just ended up coming back to my original. This recipe is a bit sacrilegious. It contains no ham hock and could be turned into a vegan recipe by subbing peanut oil for the animal fat. I know, right!?
In my trials I found that the quantity of collards used in decent traditional ham hock recipes (5-6 bunches) was impractical for my needs. I also found that the collards tended to get overwhelmingly porky. I like the way the greens themselves taste, so in my recipe I try to keep it as simple as possible. The secret ingredient is whole allspice, which enhances the nuttiness of the greens.
1 large or 2 small bunches collards
1 1/2 Tbsp. lard, bacon grease or butter
1 small onion - diced
3-4 whole allspice
1 c. chicken stock (optional)
3 c. water
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. brown sugar (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Remove the stems from the leafy part of the greens. Chop the stems into pieces the same size the diced onions and set aside. Next chop the leaves into roughly 1 inch squares. My trick for chopping lots of leaves is to place them into a few manageable piles, roll them up and chop into roughly 1 inch strips. Then turn your board 90 degrees and chop 1 inch apart again. Set aside in a large bowl.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Fry the onions for a few minutes in the oil. Add the collard stems and fry for a few minutes more, until the onions are translucent and fragrant.
Add the allspice and a handful of greens. Allow them to cook in the oil for a minute, then add the rest of the greens, the chicken stock and enough water to just cover the greens. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover partially with a lid and simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Finish with vinegar, sugar (if you like a little extra sweetness), salt and pepper. Use more salt than you think you need - probably about 1 Tbsp.
Use a slotted spoon to serve. The leftover liquid makes a nice soup base.
Breakfast Greens have become a staple for us. They are a nice, quick side anytime, but I particularly like them for breakfast with eggs and grits. I typically use kale for this recipe, but it could be made chard or any other leafy green. The combination of Sriracha and honey take the bitter edge off the greens, which can be a bit overwhelming otherwise. This recipe is just a rough outline and proportions should be changed to taste. It can also be easily scaled down to just a single serving when cooking for one.
1 bunch kale - stemmed and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce (most other hot sauces are too thin and vinegary for this recipe)
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the butter in a large pan over medium heat until it becomes frothy. Add the greens. Let them cook for 30 seconds, then toss the greens in the pan using tongs. Cook that way for another 2-3 minutes, until the greens are just beginning to wilt. The time may vary depending on the type of greens you use. Remove from the pan immediately. Mix in the salt and pepper and then drizzle honey and Sriracha over the top. It is important that you do NOT stir the honey and hot sauce. The flavors get lost behind the greens that way. Serve at once.