Last week, I shared our visit with good friends, Helen (from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage) and her husband, Leonard. They both have green thumbs that spark the deepest of envy in me because, well, my garden didn’t grow this year. Their garden produced over 200 onions, more tomatoes than they could ever eat, big, beautiful cucumbers, collard greens, and at one point they were picking a pint of berries a day. You’re probably a little jealous now, too.
Helen knows that I love all things green and saved one of her collard bushes just for me.
The collard greens immediately made it to the top of my menu, and I made the most delicious cornbread to go along with them.
I fell in love.
When I finally figure out how to convince my garden to grow, I’m going to plant a couple collard bushes so I can have fresh greens anytime. With some cornbread, of course.
Let’s Talk About Bacon
It’s not at the top of my list of foods I couldn’t live without. I’d rather have prosciutto de parma any day. But it does add an undeniable dimension of flavor to certain dishes that wouldn’t be the same without it.
Yes, it’s cured with sugar, along with salt and some other things. Here’s my take on it for those of you who have asked – when I use bacon in a dish, I use it sparingly. There’s not enough sugar in the final dish to make a difference. I don’t sit down and eat slices of bacon but a couple slices in a big pot of greens works for me.
For those of you interested in the cured/uncured bacon debate, there’s an interesting article on Chow.
This recipe was created from the oral version, as told by Helen Adams.
- 1 1/2 slices of bacon
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- a big bunch of collard greens, stems removed and sliced 3/4 – 1 inch thick
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 300F.
- Render the bacon in a good sized, cast iron Dutch Oven. Once the bacon is crispy, remove it and drain on a paper towel. Add onion and saute until translucent in the bacon fat, about 5 – 8 minutes. Add the collard greens, toss in the onion and fat, then add the chicken stock, water, and a generous teaspoon of kosher salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours until the collards are tender and melt in your mouth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If you don’t have a Dutch Oven, cook the greens up until the point where you simmer and cover in a large stock pot or high sided saute pan – anything large enough to accommodate your greens. Transfer to a lidded stoneware or glass baking dish and proceed as directed.