Ah, collard greens — a classic Southern dish and a tasty winter vegetable. I always look forward to this time of year when the nights cool off enough that the winter greens can start to take off. There are as many ways to cook collards as there are cooks to make them. I was raised on collards with salt pork. Many use bacon or other parts of the pig to flavor the greens. Today, I offer you a vegetarian version of this Southern staple.
Collard greens are members of the cabbage family, but the leaves don’t form a head. Instead, they remain loose. If you grow collards in your garden, just cut off a few leaves from each plant and the collards will quickly grow more leaves to replace them. Winter greens is a bit of a misnomer, since these plants grow nearly year-round in the Southern states. But winter is when they’re at their best.
The dark green of the leaves indicates a highly nutritious vegetable. Collard greens are high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate.
Collard Greens and Peppers
Collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, chard, kale, even the wrinkled variety of spinach are great for this dish.
5 cups collard greens
5 cups swiss chard
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup sweet peppers
1/4 cup jalapeño or other hot pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth — As a gentle reader pointed out to me in the comments below, chicken broth is not vegetarian. Use Imagine’s “No-Chicken Broth”.
Chop the greens into one- or two-inch wide ribbons. The easiest way to do this is to roll up the leaves and cut across.
Remove the ribs and seeds from the peppers. Cut the peppers into 1/4-inch pieces.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the greens. The greens will tower in the skillet.
Using tongs, flip the greens so that the butter coats each leaf. After a few minutes, the greens will be small enough that the lid will fit.
Reduce the heat to low and add the peppers and chicken broth. Stir briefly. Put the lid on the skillet and let cook for 40 minutes.
Serves two to four. The recipe doubles easily. Double all the ingredients. Use a stockpot instead of a skillet to contain the raw greens. The time and the amount of heat will remain the same.