Sunday, December 7, 2014

Simple Southern Collard Greens

Sometimes the simplest things are the most difficult to get right--like making collard greens or like taking a decent photo of collard greens. Seriously, I just took 15 photos of my dinner, dragged my table leaf around the house trying to find better lighting, and this was the best I could come up with. iphone photography class here I come. There's another simple problem: Do you capitalize the i in iphone when it's the first word in a sentence?!

I can't tell you how many simple things I looked up when I first started cooking. How do you boil eggs? How do you eat a mango? How do you season collard greens? Almost every traditional recipe I found for collard greens used bacon as the main source of flavor. I love bacon as much as the next girl, but I also love feeling healthy and energetic and that requires not flavoring all my vegetables with bacon. When Google failed me (and since Pinterest was not around yet...can you imagine?!), I went two doors down and asked my neighbor, who was often cooking up some good ol' Southern food. She called her mama and her mama said to put a smoked turkey leg in it. I followed her directions and then started experimenting with some spices and it turned out great! I highly recommend the smoked turkey leg. It adds great flavor. Smoked turkey legs, unfortunately, are not something I always have around so for everyday use I have settled on this simple go-to recipe that has great flavor and uses ingredients that I always have in my pantry. I always keep an eye out at my local Kroger as the bags of washed, chopped greens are on manager's special all the time. Mustard greens are our favorite, but this recipe will work for collard greens or spinach as well. I make it often and every single time the husband goes, "Wow! These greens are really good." Now if only I could get my 18 month old to react the same way to vegetables! ;)

 Southern Collard Greens 

3 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
3 Tbs vinegar (I prefer red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
16 oz fresh washed and chopped greens (Collard, Spinach, or Mustard)
1 tsp sugar (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Easy, right? I've found that sometimes I'll get a batch of greens that tastes unusually bitter. When that happens, I'll toss that extra teaspoon of sugar in to cut the bitter edge off. A little dash of honey or barbecue sauce will work too!

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