Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Collard Greens: Not for the Timid

That big pile o' CSA collard greens just waited patiently, bagged, in my fridge 'til tonight. I'd actually offered to give them to my friend Michele, who loves "canned collards," but she couldn't use them at the moment.

I tried to forget them, but by and by I started thinking about cornbread, to go with the leftover lentils from Monday's post. Well, what is more natural with legumes and cornbread than greens? So I hauled them out and looked at them. For once I didn't want to Google my CSA vegetable and be overrun with myriad variations of the same basic idea. These greens just shouted AUTHENTIC.

So I called Michele for collard advice. She knew exactly what to do! The recipe is really more hers than mine.


A big 'ol bunch of
collard greens
ham (Michele prefers it) or bacon

Grab the big leaves and strip the leafy parts off the center veins, and from any large-ish side veins. Slice up the leafy parts. Wash them well.

In a pot, fry up the meat, and leave as much fat as you are comfortable with. I used the "natural" bacon left over and frozen as described in the Brussels Sprouts post.

Toss in the greens, stir 'em around, and add water ... about a half inch. Put in about a tablespoon of sugar (I used sucanat). Michele says this cuts the bitterness of the greens. Cover the pot and boil for at least an hour. Check and add water if necessary.

Michele likes to cook hers for two hours, and says some folks like to put in crushed red pepper, although she does not. I did not. And these greens were delicious, earthy ... and went fantastically with the lentils and fresh cornbread I made using the Moosewood Cookbook recipe.

And the cornbread was greatly enhanced by the muscadine jelly (very winy-tasting) that Michele brought back from her last trip to Arkansas. I put jalapeno jelly (made by my friend Lenora) on my other piece of cornbread.

All in all, it was scrumptious. And! This was a three-CSA-item dinner ... collards, lentils, and the squash custard from Monday for dessert.

This eating local thing is a blast! 

Oh, and Michele says not to forget to enjoy the collard greens' "pot likker!"


  1. Oh,I am in awe of you Farm Gals. This SFO-area suburbanite has never even tasted....collard greens. You actually make 'em sound easy to cook and tasty to eat. Now, 'splain to me "pot likker," which Michele says not to forget.

  2. Postscript: the addition of the vintage photo, complete with pointer towards the root cellar, is PERFECT for your blog, Becky!

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  4. Dear Dame, welcome to the country! In which veggies used to be actually boiled. I don't think our grandfolk had steamers and such, and they sure didn't have olive oil, and probably didn't use the term "saute lightly."

    "Pot likker" is the term for the boiling liquid which, according to legend, contains most of the vitamins and nutrients from the vegetable cooked in it. So don't throw it away! Some folks even used to put a jar in the fridge and add pot likker to it all week to use in soups. Nothing wasted!