Braised Collard Greens
I love braised collard greens. There are a lot of other green vegetables at the top of my list but I’m crazy about a bowl of hot, steaming greens and collards are my favorite. Any time that I see them on a menu as a side my eye immediately goes straight to this delectable vegetable that usually has some kind of salty bacon flavor and just a tad of sweetness to cut the bitterness of the greens.
The main difference between a collard and other greens like spinach, kale or chard is that a collard is much more tough and holds it’s shape and texture after it’s been cooked. The downside is that they require a longer time on the stove but if you use this cooking method it will cut the time down to a few minutes in the microwave and then a 30 minute process to get the greens just right.
This recipe hits on the flavors that I think make the perfect collard greens. Bacon, onion, a little kick from the red pepper flakes and finally a touch of sugar from the maple syrup. Like any fresh vegetable, I like to taste at the end and I might adjust my final seasonings depending on the greens. They may need just a tad more syrup or an extra dash of pepper flakes…don’t be afraid to adjust to your own preference!
- 1 1/4 lbs. collard greens, spines removed and sliced into 1/2 inch strips (roll them like a cigar before slicing)
- 1 TBSP. water
- 2 slices bacon
- 1 TBSP. olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 TBSP cider vinegar
- 1 TBSP. maple syrup
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cups chicken broth
- After the greens are washed and sliced (with stems removed) put them in a large microwave safe dish, add the water and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Cook on high for 5 minutes.
- Preheat a large, heavy dutch oven or skillet and cook the bacon for 2 minutes on each side, remove and reserve. Don't overcook the bacon, you want it just done.
- Add the oil and onion to the skillet and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the greens and stir in the vinegar, syrup, pepper flakes and broth. Bring to a simmer, dice the bacon and add to the pot. Cover and cook on a medium low simmer for 30 minutes. Check the liquid every 10 minutes or so and add more broth if necessary. Salt & pepper to taste.