Monday, February 1, 2016

Carolina Collard Greens

My younger daughter -- and the more adventuresome eater of my two girls -- turns 7 tomorrow. We celebrated on Saturday with a home cooked early birthday dinner. Penny's taste buds were set on having collard greens.

Yes, my child is weird. A child of the South and a weird collard craving, blue cheese nibbling, quinoa salad lunching kid. But finally someone else in my house other than me appreciates collards, so I happily fixed a big mess of greens.

Here are some Southern inspired dishes that would go well with collards: Family Cornbread, Slow Cooker Pulled PorkTangy Slow Cooker Pork with Onion Jam, Slow Cooker Chicken & Biscuits, Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breasts and a Deviled Egg Sampler.

However, our birthday dinner was a little more eclectic. We had Parmesan and Yogurt Crusted Chicken, scalloped potatoes and a nearly flourless French chocolate cake.

Penny, by the way, had two helpings of collards.


PS: I call these Carolina Collard Greens in honor of Cam Newton, QB1 for the Super Bowl 50-bound Carolina Panthers. In an interview following the Panthers' NFC Championship win, Cam compared "instant grits" to "slow cooked collard greens" when asked to talk about what's happened to him since being drafted. Go, Panthers! Keep pounding!

PPS: You might recall that Erin is bringing you grits following the Seattle Seahawks' playoff loss to the Panthers. Grits are coming later this week.

Carolina Collard Greens

2 pounds of collard greens, each leaf cut in half to completely remove center stem/vein and torn into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 pieces bacon
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch or two of crushed red pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar

Rinse prepared collard pieces under cold water and  set aside.

In your largest pot -- like a pasta or lobster pot -- heat olive oil over medium heat. (Trust me, the collards cook way down.)

Add bacon and cook for a minute. Add onions and cook until softened, about four minutes. Add garlic and red pepper and cook until fragrant, about one minute.

Remove bacon and cut into pieces and return to pot. (Or you can do what I do, which is use kitchen scissors to cut bacon while it is still in the pot.) Add collards and stir to incorporate with other ingredients the best you can. Add broth and vinegar.

Bring pot to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for at least 45 minutes.

Use slotted spoon to serve.

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