Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spicy Sauteed Collards with Bacon

Bacon and Collard GreensCold weather means fresh collard greens and other dark leafy greens like turnip greens and kale are readily available. Here is a zesty and simple recipe inspired by traditional Southern cooking.  Collard greens are often served on New Year's Day for good luck and prosperity in the coming year (the green leaves are symbolic of money).  You can make this recipe with any dark leafy greens, including spinach. The quantities are flexible, so don't fret about imprecise amounts.  Feel free to fry up extra bacon to crumble on top of the finished dish.  And for an authentic Southern New Year's Day feast, serve the collard greens with black-eyed peas and cornbread.

8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large bunch of fresh collards or other dark winter greens, thoroughly washed & cut into 1-inch strips (you will want to remove any tough stems)
1/2 large onion (sweet onion if available)
3 to 5 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Vinegar-based hot sauce, to taste (Texas Pete Hot Sauce or a cayenne hot sauce works well)
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large skillet (preferably cast iron), cook the bacon over medium heat until done. Add the onion & garlic, stir & cook until onion is soft and translucent. Add the collards or other greens, stir to coat the greens with the bacon fat. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the greens have wilted and are cooked down. Add the vinegar and a few splashes of hot sauce and stir to deglaze the skillet. Season with salt & pepper to taste, and serve hot.

Zestfully yours,

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