Friday, February 18, 2011

Classic CSA Braising Greens, Three Ways

By way of the wee memory fairy working her magic on two CSA customers this week, I found myself, as the drop site host, in possession of TWO unclaimed CSA boxes.  I feel bad when people forget to pick up their boxes, but there it is.  I have been instructed that the unclaimed boxes are mine to use or share.

This week we each had a bag of braising greens, so I have two extra bags ... a real treat, as I have never seen braising greens in the grocery store.  The farmer's e-mail tells us the greens are all Asian varieties:  mizuna, tatsoi, and mibuna.  These greens wilt down significantly when cooked, like spinach.  So I like to mix other vegetables (preferably from the CSA box!) in with them.  This week's bok choy and red onion were perfect candidates!

There are, of course, infinitely more than three ways to cook greens.  I have given ideas here.  Think of them as the starting point for your own creations. The photo shows the Indian Braise.

I suspect braising greens might be available in Asian markets, of which we have several in our area.  But if you can't find them, spinach, chard and even sturdy lettuce varieties will work.  Just watch the cooking times so you don't overcook thinner greens.

Indian Braise

1 tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil

1 baby bok choy, sliced
1/2 large or 1 small red onion, halved and sliced
2 cups sliced cabbage

1 tablespoon curry powder or garam masala

12 ounces or so mixed braising greens, sorted and washed
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon red curry paste or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt to taste

Coconut and chopped macadamia nuts to garnish (optional)

Heat vegetable oil in large-ish skillet.  Add bok choy, onion and cabbage.  Saute, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.

Scatter curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt atop vegetables, stir, and cook, stirring for a minute or so until the spices become fragrant.  Stir in coconut milk and curry paste, mixing well.

Pile braising greens into the pan, stir well to incorporate them with the other vegetables, and cover.  Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary, until greens have wilted and become somewhat tender.  Sprinkle coconut and chopped macadamia nuts atop if desired.

Makes two large or four small servings. 

Oriental Braise

To same (or different!) combination of vegetables above, add chopped ginger and garlic when sauteeing the bok choy, onion and cabbage.  Use sesame oil if desired.  When adding the braising greens, stir in hoisin sauce or soy sauce mixed with a little water.  Add crushed red pepper if desired.  Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

American Braise

To same (or different!) combination of vegetables above, using coconut oil or vegetable oil, saute with plenty of garlic.  Stir in raisins, dried cranberries or chopped prunes when you add the braising greens.  Just before serving, stir in a splash of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, and some fresh walnuts. Orange peel and orange juice work well with this combination, too.


  1. I love all three of your flavor combinations! One of the farmers at my local market offers young braising greens, usually a mixture of chard, green and purple kale, and mustard greens. It's unpredictable when they'll have them, and I get so happy whenever they do. With the mustard greens in there, I think it would be especially good with the Indian braise method.

  2. Braising greens make me happy, too. I think they are very, very good for us, and we are just responding to that!