by Cat, by Cat, Jan 2008 (photo, right, from Wikipedia Commons)
Your doctor has probably advised that you eat more dark green leafy vegetables, and this is a great way to do that. You can use just one kind of greens or mix it up. Choose from: beet-greens, chard, collard, kale, mustard, and turnip. Add a few florets of broccoli or cauliflower for texture, if desired.
Braised Greens with Chopped Bacon
This recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, January 2008, and serves 2 – 3 (3/4 cup servings). Bacon fat is a perfect fat for braising, as it lends wonderful flavor to the greens.
The original recipe first blanches the greens by dipping in boiling water for 30 seconds, then rinsing with cold water to stop the cooking, before adding them to the heated oil to cook. To me, this is backwards. I heat the greens in the oil and then add the boiling water to steam them done. I have modified the recipe accordingly.
The original also includes instructions for using either bacon or diced ham. I only include the bacon but provide a note at the end for using ham.
If you want to slightly sweeten the braise, I recommend using balsamic vinegar rather than sugar/maple syrup.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1 – 2 pounds assorted or individual greens (collard, kale, mustard, beet and turnip)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped, bacon
- 2 tsp bacon fat, olive oil or butter
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp chicken stock or vegetable broth
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar or maple syrup (optional)
- Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Balsamic or cider vinegar (optional)
- 12″ cast iron skillet or other large heavy-bottomed skillet
- Thoroughly wash greens, remove stems and thick ribs from the greens, and pat dry.
- Heat water/broth to boiling in a saucepan, and retain at simmer until ready to use.
- Cook the bacon* in the skillet, then crumble and set aside, reserving bacon fat in the pan.
- Meanwhile, chop greens coarsely.
- Heat oil or bacon fat in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add bacon, garlic and jalapeno; cook and stir 1 minute.
- Add chopped greens and stir until coated with the fat, about 1 minute. Lower heat to simmer.
- Add water/broth and sweetener (if using), stirring to dissolve. Sprinkle salt and black pepper over. Give it a stir, cover with lid and steam until heated through, 2 – 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately with vinegar on the side.
* NOTE: You can use cubed, fully cooked country ham or ham instead of bacon. In this case, use olive oil or lard instead of the bacon fat, and warm the cubes of ham in the fat, then set the ham aside, reserving the fat in the pan, and adding more if necessary.
Assembly or Serving Suggestions
- Serve with balsamic or apple cider vinegar on the side.
- Great with fried chicken, pan roasted chicken, grilled steak, or roast pork loin.