Collard greens are a staple vegetable mainly in Brazil, Portugal, the southern United States, many parts of Africa, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, southern Croatia, Spain as well as in Kashmir regions of both India and Pakistan. They are classified in the group as kale and spring greens, to which they are genetically similar. They are often prepared with other similar green leaf vegetables, such as kale, turnip greens, spinach, and mustard greens in “mixed greens”. They are generally eaten year-round in the South.
Typical seasonings when cooking collards can consist of smoked and salted meats such as ham hocks, smoked turkey drumsticks, pork neckbones, fatback or other fatty meat, diced onions, vinegar, salt, and black, white, or crushed red pepper. Commercially cultivated for its thick, slightly bitter, edible leaves. They are available year-round, but are tastier and more nutritious in the cold months, after the first frost. For best texture, the leaves should be picked before they reach their maximum size, at which stage the leaves will be thicker and should be cooked differently from the new leaves. Age will not affect flavour.
Fresh collard leaves can be stored for up to 10 days if refrigerated. Once cooked, they can be frozen and stored for greater lengths of time. Try these recipes, especially the Collard Green Dip served warm with crackers and veggie sticks. A perfect dish for sharing!
BRAISED COLLARD GREENS
This dish is almost too tasty to be called a vegetable dish. You could eat it as a main course with potatoes. Collards are a southern green leafy vegetable usually available anywhere but you could substitute cabbage or kale with this recipe.
- 1 bunch collard greens
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped leek or onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 oz smoked ham hock or smoked turkey thigh or peameal bacon
- 1 tsp brown sugar to taste
- pinch chili flakes to taste
Remove stems from collards up to the leaf. Cut the leaves into 3/4 inch strips. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add greens and boil for 5 minutes. Drain well.
Heat oil in wide pot or saute pan on medium-high heat. Add carrot, leek and celery ad sauté until tender about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, ham, brown sugar, chili flakes and collards and stir together.
Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered until the meat falls apart and the liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 1 1/2 hours. You may need to add a little more liquid, water can be used if you do not have any more stock.
CURRIED COLLARD GREENS, SWEET POTATOES AND CHICKPEAS
- 1 Onion, large, cut into pieces
- 1 tbsp. Garlic, crushed
- 1 bunch Collard Greens, chopped, fresh or frozen
- 1-2 Sweet Potatoes, cubed
- 1 Bell Pepper, cut into pieces
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 – 15-oz. can Chick Peas
- 1 – 28-oz. can Tomatoes, crushed
- 1 cup Raisins
- 1 cup Walnuts, pieces (optional)
- 1 tbsp. Cumin, ground
- 1 tbsp. Paprika
- 1 tbsp. Turmeric, powder
- 1-1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
- 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper, ground (or to taste)
Wash, clean, peel, and cut vegetables into 1/2 inch sized pieces. Place all veggies in the cooking pot.
Drain chick peas and add the to the veggies. Add the tomatoes, and all the remaining ingredients.
Bring the ingredients to a boil and simmer until the onions and sweet potatoes become fork tender.
About one half hour before you are ready to eat, prepare the basmati rice by cooking 2 cups of basmati rice in 4 cups of water.
Serve the Curried Collard Greens, Sweet Potatoes, and Chick Peas over a bed of the basmati rice and a large tossed salad.
COLLARD GREENS DIP
Adapted from Biscuits and Burlap (http://www.biscuitsandburlap.com) Total time ~45 minutes
Use your fresh collard greens by blanching them first to have the same consistency as the frozen package this recipe calls for.
- 1 bunch of chopped collard greens
- 1 tsp EVOO
- 3 Tbs onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ½ cup sour cream or greek yogurt
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, grated
- 1 tsp flour
- ½ cup chopped seeded tomatoes
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp pepper sauce or another hot sauce, optional
Cook collard greens in salted water for about 15 minutes. Drain and press between paper towels to dry, removing any stems.
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Stir remaining ingredients together, adding the onions and garlic and reserving about 1/4 of the Monterey Jack cheese.
Place in 8″ iron skillet or small ovenproof baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
If desired, top brown under broiler, watching carefully. Serve with crackers or veggie sticks.