Collards anyone?

I’ve learned that Springfield, Illinois just doesn’t garden like the North. The flowering dogwoods everywhere were a clue. Broccoli and brussels sprouts definitely sulk, so on a whim this year I rescued a dozen runty, overstressed collard plants from an end-of-season nursery and put them in the garden I tend for my employer.

They are looking beautiful! Now, how do I go about preparing them for a vegetarian? Local wisdom is to boil them with a pork hock or smoked turkey neck. Anyone have a suggestion for preparation? I’m leaning towards a light saute with onions and soy sauce for starters, but don’t even know if I’m supposed to be picking the young leaves or the old leaves…

4 comments to Collards anyone?

  • Helen/Hawk

    Cook’s Illustrated (February ’09) had the following recipe for BRAISED HEARTY GREENS. I slice the stems and include them along w/ the leaves.

    3 T olive oil
    1 med onion, minced (about 1 C)
    5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 5 t)
    1/8 t red pepper flakes
    2 lb collard greens or kale (about 24 loosely packed cups)
    1 C chick broth (obviously substitute veg broth)
    1 C water
    salt
    2-3 t juice from l lemon
    black pepper

    Heat 2 T oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Cook onion, stirring, until softened & beginning to brown, 4-5 min. Add garlic & pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 the greens (this is when I add the stems) & stir until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Add remaining greens, broth, water & 1/4 t salot; quickly cover & reduce heat until low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 25 to 35 min for kale & 35-45 for collards.

    Remove lid & increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated (bottom of pot will be almost dry and greens begin to sizzle), 8-12 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 2 t lemon juice & remaining oil. Season salt/pepper & lemon juice to taste.

    VARIATION: BRAISED GREENS W/ COCONUT & CURRY

    substitute 2 t grated fresh ginger & 1t curry powder for red pepper flakes & 1 (14oz) can cocunut milk for water. Substitute 1 T lime juice for lemon & sprinkle w/ 1/3 C toasted cashews before serving.

  • Larry

    Thanks for the recipe Helen! I’ll give it a try. How many servings do you get from this?

  • Helen/Hawk

    Sorry. Original recipe says “serves 4”.

    And, since you’ve got young leaves, play w/ them. They won’t be as tough so experiment.

    Go w/ your instincts & try that saute!

  • ambar

    Pam Peirce in Golden Gate Gardening has this to say about collard greens:

    You can begin to pick outer leaves when the plants are about 15 inches high. At first, pick only one leaf per plant. In a few weeks the plants will be strong enough to withstand heavy picking, up to one-half to two-thirds of the leaves at a time. Let them grow back for a week or so before you pick again. Leave one to three plants per person to over-winter. As a plant gets larger, begin to pick the medium-sized leaves near the center, leaving the outer leaves to feed the plant and the inner ones to grow a bit longer. You can pick until the plants go to seed, usually in February or March.

    Of course, her timing is for the SF Bay Area, adjust accordingly. She also suggests trying it steamed until just tender.