Sunday, November 3, 2013

Soul of The South - Kickin' Collard Greens

I want to take a moment to tell you about our latest family adventure, a trip to South Carolina by way of Savannah, Georgia. In addition to what is always a good old time with all the folks I love, I was struck by how beautiful this part of the country is.
The Beach at Hilton Head, Photo: NK
From the white sand beaches to the seemingly endless marshlands, the wild sea birds and trees draped dramatically with Spanish moss (which look wonderfully spooky by the light of the moon), Low Country really is great.     
She-Crab Soup, Photo: NK

And it's not just because of the vistas - the food is pretty good too! With a rich culinary history all its own, Low Country is a place to find and taste the foods of the Gullah Culture, as well as other regional delights like She-Crab Soup. This stuff was good, let me tell you.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

As soon as I got finished taking in the astonishingly pretty sunsets

Photo: NK
Photo: NK

and getting my fill of activities like a really fun day of kayaking and mini golf, 

Photo: NK

I knew it was time to get down to the business of cooking. My favorite kind!

I'd had my fill of yummy shrimp and grits during our fun family trip, so I decided to indulge the hankering I had for my favorite Southern side dish - Collard Greens

I actually can't believe that I had never made collards at home before because I really enjoy them. Collards are a sturdy, slow-cooking green. They take a while to become tender, but almost no time to prep. It's during the lengthy cooking period that the magic happens. 

You can infuse collards with many different flavors, but the traditional addition is some sort of smoked meat, whether bacon or a ham hock. Feel free to turn this vegetarian by omitting the bacon and cooking as directed from after that point. Relying heavily on a recipe I found on, my first attempt at collards was a great success. They were smokey, salty, and even a little spicy, from a generous pinch of crushed red pepper.

If you too are a collard novice, this recipe is a great place to start. Serve collards alongside your favorite Southern dishes, or if you like them as much as I do, throw them over rice, beans, or peas, and they are a meal in themselves. Y'all enjoy! 

Kickin' Collard Greens
Lightly Adapted from Adams
Photo: NK 
Serves 6

3 Strips of Bacon
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 medium White Onion, chopped
3 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Pepper
1 generous pinch Crushed Red Pepper
3 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 Large Bunch Fresh Collard Greens, chopped into two-inch pieces


1. Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook it until it is crisp. Remove the bacon, blot off the oil, roughly chop it and return it to the pan. 

2. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes. Now add the collard greens and cook until the leaves begin to wilt. 

3. Pour in the vegetable broth and lower the flame to low. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cover the pot and cook for 45 minutes until the greens are tender. Scoop the collards from the liquid, serve and enjoy!

Collards! Photo: NK

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