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Collards

A friend of mine grew collards in his garden this year, apparently quite successfully. The only problem is he has absolutely no idea what to do with them now that he has them. So I'm turning to you, the CH community, to give me some ideas to give him as to what to do with his bounty. (And me, as well, because I have a feeling I will be rewarded for my efforts here.)

I'm not sure if being in central New York State has any bearing on the answers, but it sure does on the questions he's asking. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

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  1. I've only lived in NY and New England, so never had braised greens until a trip to Tennessee 20 yrs ago. I loved them and asked a Kentucky-born friend how to make them. Southern tradition is long-cooked greens but I came to prefer the easier-to-make quicker version. I sweat onions and minced garlic in olive oil in a large, wide pan, preferably with some bacon or pancetta. Remove the meat when rendered. Add a heaping mound of chopped, washed greens. Stems can be included if you separate them and add them first, so as to give them some time to soften before adding the leaves. Once the greens have wilted enough to allow stirring, add a little ham broth or chicken broth, and some optional red pepper flakes. Cover and cook on low heat until most of the liquid is evaporated. Return the meat to the greens. A splash of balsamic vinegar at the end is nice.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      I agree with braised. I grew up with Southern braised collard greens and they are delicious. My good ol' Southern grandmother uses either ham hocks or sometimes fat back but will use bacon if there's no other piggy fat around. We like to eat them with a bottle of hot sauce and vinegar - apple cider and malt vinegar are both great with braised greens.

    2. Hi AL B -

      We grow ours too, buying the seeds on Ebay from Portugal.
      This is Brassicaceae, specifically Couve Galega or Collard Greens.

      We usually wash them, roll up the leaves, and thin slice the rolls into thin strips. The strips are them slow cooked with garlic and a little oil and water, Brasilian style with black beans, and rice. We cannot get enough of them, due to the fact that a lot of leaves cook down about 60%.

      The leaves can also be added to soups, broth, and torte mix.

      Very nutritious with a lot of good minerals.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SWISSAIRE

        Sounds delicious to me. Collards are more traditional in the Southern US than in the North. It is rare to find them in northern supermarkets.

        I remember being in a Pennsylvania supermarket decades ago while a southerner was hunting in vain for collard greens. I sadly had to inform him that he will not find them in our area.

      2. look up recipes for cooked kale, collard will generally work for all of them.
        also, ethiopian collard greens (goman wat)
        soups of all sorts.
        (just had a delicious curried vegetable soup with kale in it, could EASILY have used collard greens instead)

        1. they do cook down. ham hock or jowl or just bacon in the stew makes a big difference. after done I like to sprinkle rice vinegar that has been steeped in peppers for a few days (esp. Thai bird chilies) wow I am sounding really fussy/weird.

          don't hesitate to toss in some turnips or parsnips. and more garlic.

          1. Braised, soups, stews, rice dishes, potato dishes.

            1. The September cookbook of the month is Edward Lee's Smoke and Pickles. Leafing through last night, I noticed a tasty-sounding recipe for collards and kimchee. Maybe that would appeal to your friend. Heck, buy him the book!

              http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_2351682...

              1. Collards are one of my favorite vegetables! Agree with hill food - they're best simmered with a piece of pork hock/jowl and some chili flakes. I serve them doused in apple cider vinegar and Tobasco. Also great mixed in with rice, Hoppin' John, or kedgeree. Another great use: blanched (basically dipped in boiling water) and used as a wrapper for wrap-style dishes. I'm a long way from vegan but I love them filled with vegan nut pastes and shredded veggies. Enjoy the bounty!

                Edit to add:
                1) they are best simmered low - too high a boiling temperature and they can develop bitter flavors. Simmered nice and low you just get the juicy, meaty texture and nice green flavors.
                2) the lovely green broth (pot liquor) they simmer in might be the best part - they're great pulled out and served on their own, but this soup is lovely too. I add a couple tablespoons of vinegar and many shakes of tobasco per bowl, but I am really into vinegar.

                1. When I get them in the organic produce delivery, I thinly slice them and add to spinach lasagna, pasta primavera, or quiches. We didn't grow up eating them and can't really get into them so I just finely slice them up and then try to hide them in veg dishes.

                  1. collards are awesome!

                    Home grown collards are often more tender than the store bought ones, at least at my house, so stemming and a fairly quick saute with garlic, crushed red pepper and a splash of mild vineger (like rice vinegar) is a great side dish to anything.

                    I also use collards in Caldo Verde in place of kale. There's a gazillion recipes out there, you can find one that suits you best, but the combination of the chorizo, potato and collards is delicious.

                    1. Thanks to everybody (so far) for all the great ideas. I had to look up Hoppin' John, that sounds really good too.

                      BTW - I asked my friend why he grew collards if he had no idea how to use him, and his answer was "Because they were there." He said he never grown them before and heard they were easy to grow. Now he's got tons of them with no idea what to do with them.

                      He's promised me some as well, and I can't wait to try them.

                      1. There are recipes on CH, and all over, for Crispy Kale, which is a crunchy snack food that uses up buckets of greens. Collards can be subbed.

                        1. I love Emeril's greens recipe...also look up his Soul Roll.

                          1. Lightly parboil and freeze in regular plastic bags, squeeze or suck out as much of the air as you can before freezing. (You have to cut the tough stem out about 1/2 way up the leaf) I love greens.

                            1. I use dry vermouth as part of the braising liquid. Makes for great pot "likker". I especially like this for mustard greens, but I'm cooking kale that way right now and they're tasting really good! I think it'd be good with collards, as well.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Pat Hammond

                                Wow, how could I forget the pot likker. that's my favorite part. I always have a mason jar or two straight up.

                              2. Tons of great ideas here. They are also great braised with country-style pork ribs (and other greens if you have them) as described in this post and responses: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7655...

                                1. Lots of good ideas...

                                  Just an fyi, collards harvested after a frost have a much improved flavor.