The North and South get along just fine when there is bacon involved. I’m hoping to begin adding more recipes that focus on seasonal fruits and vegetables. Here’s to the first of many.
Don’t be too heavy handed with the cheese, in this case it is just an accent, just let the smoky flavor of the bacon accent the greens.
Here’s a printable grocery list.
- 1 bunch collards (about 4 lbs before prep work)
- 3 slices bacon, uncooked
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced thinly
- 1 can or 2 cups fully cooked Northern beans
- 1/2 tsp salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup bread or cracker crumbs
Take the bunch of collards and cut off the leaves from stalk before removing the rubber band. Fill a sink or basin with cold water and submerge the whole bunch. Remove the rubber band and separate the leaves. Drain the sink and fill once more. Be sure to swish them around a bit. This thorough washing ensures no sand or grit ends up in your dish. My skin crawls at the thought of biting down on sand. Collards contain a LOT of water, don’t worry they will fit nicely into your 9×13 baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 450F.
In a large pot, cook the three strips of bacon.
While the bacon cooks begin tearing the collards into bite size pieces. With practice I’ve learned the easiest way is to hold grip the leaf in your off hand and tear the leaf into strips. The collards usually tear nicely into strips down the larger veins of the leaf. After the stem has been stripped. I take all the strips and then tear them in half to create reasonably sized pieces. There’s a rhythm to the process. Once you find it, it goes quickly.
Remove the cooked bacon to drain on a paper towel, crumble and set aside. Turn the heat to medium low.
Cook just until soft, add the minced garlic, cook only for one minute.
Add the torn collard greens one handful at a time. I find tongs very handy to maneuver the greens in the pot. They will quickly cook down, your job is to make sure the onion and garlic is pretty evenly distributed. Add the salt and fresh ground pepper. When the collards have wilted add the northern beans and crumbled bacon. Mix well.
Cover everything with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes.