07 August, 2009

How To Make Greens

I have been missing Southern cooking rather sharply as of late. I need a massive Southern feast to recharge. Fried catfish or chicken, okra (fried or gumbo), home-made macaroni and cheese, cornbread, green beans, greens, field-fresh sweet corn, wild rice with bacon, biscuits, yams, and a side of Jello. Maybe peach cobbler with walnut ice cream and watermelon for dessert. I would eat enough to distend my stomach* and then some. Crap, now I'm drooling...

Anyway, of all the delectables that I list above, it has been greens that has drawn the greatest consternation from the Northerners I now live among: "What are greens? What do they taste like!?"

Well, dear culinary n00bs, allow me to explain:

1) Greens are indeed green.
2) Greens are leaves and stems of leafy edible plants.
3) Greens are simmered down for at least an hour in broth and spices until they are delicious.
4) Greens go well with anything.
5) Greens are a recycling dish.

I now impart unto you my recipe for greens.

Toaster's Greens:
1. 1 large potful mixed greens, washed. This typically includes collard greens and mustard greens, but can also use common lettuce (if you must, but I do not recommend this), beet greens, even dandelion or nettle leaves (be sure to blanch the nettles first!).
2. Broth. I like to use chicken, but you can use whatever stock broth you'd like.
3. Mustard.
4. Hot sauce (smoky hot sauce better).
5. Seasoning salt.
6. Black pepper.
7. Bacon grease.
8. Ham hock.
1. Wash greens, dice coarsely if needed, and load into pot.
2. Pour in broth to 1/3 the volume of greens.
3. Turn heat on low, cover.
4. Add bacon grease and ham hock (these are optional, but very useful for recycling leftovers).
5. As greens begin to wilt, add spices. 1 tbsp mustard, generous hot sauce and black pepper to taste, light on seasoning salt.
6. Simmer at least 1h, covered, until you are left with a delicious mass of wilted greenery and spice. Add broth as needed for desired soupiness.
7. Serve with cornbread and a side of awesomeness, garnish with bacon.

You will enjoy this! Greens can be had very cheaply at local farmers' markets, and Trader Joe's even sells them, pre-mixed and pre-cut, by the pound.

*This isn't uncommon. When you're as scrawny as Toaster, any food in your stomach is visually apparent.


biochem belle said...


country-fried steak
biscuits and gravy
fried apples

and how about some barbeque that doesn't suck?

I never realized how much I love southern food until the self/career-imposed exile to the Northland.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Now I need to go to the store again. Funny, I never had greens in the four years I lived in Georgia (lived in a mostly ex-pat Northerner town), but I love them now.