Monday, May 26, 2008

Southern Greens

Southern Greens
Originally uploaded by TagDragon

I liked greens when I was a kid growing up in the South. They were always part of the summer garden and dinner table; and always served with hot pepper sauce. My mother planted turnip, mustard, and kale and would occasional pick polk salad from fields around the farm. Greens are a very traditionally southern dish and not seen in the midwest or north.

I was at a birthday dinner party at Terrene and the side vegetable was a mixture of greens. They were very, very good and it took me back to my childhood. The trainer at the gym has also told me I need to eat more green, leafy vegetables. Although I’m not sure he meant with bacon. The picture is of a mixer of kale and swiss chard about a third of the way through the cooking process.

2 to 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 to 4 slices Bacon - diced
½ Onion - diced
4 large bunches of Greens – Kale, Mustard, Turnip, Collard, or Swiss Chard
2 cups Water or Chicken Broth
½ to 1 teaspoon Salt
½ to 1 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper
½ to 1 teaspoon Sugar

Wash greens thoroughly, remove stems and ribs, and roughly chop. In a larger stock pot or dutch oven add olive oil and fry diced bacon until fully cooked. Add onion to bacon renderings and sauté until soft and translucent. On mid-high heat add greens to oil and bacon and allow to wilt slightly. Add water or chicken broth, salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 to 2 hours until tender.

Sever with hot pepper vinegar. Servers 6 to 8.

I like to mix and match the different types of greens, usually kale with one of the others. Use ½ of one type and ½ of another. If you are really adventurous and can find it, try with Polk Salad. Tougher greens like swiss chard will take longer to cook. Also, if you are using greens from your garden they will be much more tender then those purchased at the market. They will cook faster and you may not have to remover the stems and center ribs.