These collards have a kick! They are peppery and wonderful, something I never thought would be possible without sausage or bacon, but as of last night I know it can be done. This recipe is adapted from the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, a birthday gift from last year. Their version is called Sneaky Collards and is written for fresh greens. Some occasions, such as New Years or on a chilly afternoon with chicken bog already working, I’m quite willing to wrestle with fresh collards. Other days, busier days, I quite happily use frozen. That’s sacrilege to some, but hang tight and see what happens before turning up your nose.
This recipe yields 8 – 10 servings, leftovers would be absolutely amazing stirred into a soup near the end of cooking or added to a pot of beans and rice. Well, if you have any leftovers that is. . .
- 2 lbs frozen collard greens
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 TBSP crushed red pepper (I cut it in half from my experiment)
- 1 tsp salt + more to taste at the end
- 1 onion
- 1 tomato
- 4 cloves of garlic, still in the papery peel (added to make up for the reduction in pepper)
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TBSP red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
Kitchen equipment needed:
- 1 heavy pot
- 1 heavy skillet or baking sheet
- oven / broiler
- blender or stick/immersion blender
- knife / cutting board
In a large pot, heat the water, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring it to a boil, then turn it to low. Cover and ignore for 10 minutes or so, this isn’t a recipe where exacts matter. The point of this step is to draw out some of the oils from the pepper.
Cut both ends off the onion, peel it, and cut it into quarters or eighths depending on its size. Core the tomato and again cut it into quarters or eighths. How do you know which? If it fits comfortably into the palm of your hand, go with quarters, larger eighths. Now, the next step depends on your coordination / comfort level and whether you wish to wash a bowl or mop the floor. If you are new to the cooking scene, place the onion, tomato, and garlic cloves in a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Then, sprinkle with the paprika and ground pepper. Stir to coat, then pour into an oven proof skillet or onto a baking sheet.
If you’re comfortable with your skill level, toss everything in an oven proof skillet. Toss to coat.
Now the comes the magic moment. Turn your broiler to high and place the vegetables about 3″ from the heat source. This is typically the highest rack setting of your oven.
Set a timer for 6 minutes. Take a peek after five minutes.
When using this technique, it is very important to remember that dark brown equals intense flavor, but black is burnt. Watch your vegetables carefully, it’s totally worth the attention to detail.
While the tomatoes are broiling, add the collards to the peppery water. Bring it back up to a simmer and cover. This needs to cook for at least 20 minutes, but it can go much longer without ruining the greens.
When the tomatoes, onions, and garlic are done. Set the skillet aside until the garlic is cool enough to handle. The cloves should slip right out of their paper, discard the paper. Place the garlic cloves and everything else from the skillet into the blender, be sure to catch as much of the liquid as you can, it carries a lot of flavor. Puree the broiled vegetables until smooth.
Once the collards have cooked for at least twenty minutes, add the puree and stir.
Serve when the rest of the meal is ready.