No Meat Needed Collard Greens
All of my cooking life, I have been warned of the perils involved in purchasing pre-cut fresh greens because they are notorious for being too “stemmy”. You know, big pieces of bitter, twiggy collard green stalks that interrupt the pleasure of eating cooked greens. However, for the first time, I bought GLORY pre-cut collards and they were surprisingly ok. Don’t get me wrong, I DID have to pour them into a pan and re-de-stem them, lol. But I think mommy would be as pleasantly surprised as I was that they weren’t full of stems.
If you know me, you know that I DO NOT cook collards. I’ve always associated greens with cooking a day before the meal. You know, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Easter Eve(?)…you get it, lol. That, coupled with the fact that I have always been hell-bent on cooking them without pork fat, made them unappealing. Today, on New Year’s, I got over all of that and put on a pot of greens!! I’m not superstitious but eating a good bowl of greens aint never hurt nobody! : )
2 - 1lb bags Glory Brand Pre-cut Collard Greens (Publix BOGO, baby!)
2 medium white onions, roughly chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 whole jalapeno pepper
2 tbs vinegar
2 tea. sugar
1/2 tea. + 1/8 tea. cayenne pepper
1/2 tbs. black pepper
1/2 tbs. salt
Cleaning vs Washing
I’m not sure if it’s required since I was using pre-cut and hence, somewhat processed greens but out of tradition (and the fact that it couldn’t hurt) I “washed” the greens in a sink full of cold water. To wash them, push them down in the water several times to release any grit that may be on them. Drain the sink and repeat. “Cleaning” in greens terminology, means to de-stem them. This would be done if you bought whole bunches of collards. Since I didn’t, the next step is to remove them in batches from the sink, shaking excess water off, and begin to de-stem.
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot. It should be enough to coat the pan. Add onions and enjoy that sizzle. Spread a little more oil over onions. After they cook a little, add jalepeno pepper and pour broth in pot and cut the heat up to high. Bring the broth to a boil and as you de-stem them, add them to the pot. Occassionally toss the greens to get the greens on top into the broth. Gradually continue adding greens to pot. Once all the greens are in, add red pepper, vinegar and sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low for 35 minutes or until tender. I heard somewhere (I think from “Good Eats”, I love Alton Brown) that adding salt to greens will toughen them so I chose to reserve both, the salt and pepper, until the end.
If you want them spicier, I would suggest chopping the pepper before adding to the pot. Remember, the heat is in the seeds so you can control it by reserving some if needed. And always, be sure to wear gloves when working with peppers. Peppers can burn the skin just on contact, let alone what they can do if you touch your eyes. :(