As you can see from the photo, I have taken one meal and turned it into three separate posts: one for asparagus, one for porchetta, and now one for collards. It's only taken me five years to get efficient about this whole blogging thing. Do you want the mashed potato recipe, too? Let's make it four!
Today, we're talking about simple collard greens. I think everybody must have a rendition of garlicky greens in their repertoire, whether it's spinach, swiss chard, or kale you prefer. But people tend to steer clear of collard greens and I ask you why? They are most delicious and toothsome. Like kale, they require a little extra time stewing in the pot, but I don't usually let them go more than 15 minutes. With a pork chop bone in there or some bacon fat, things just get more delicious with every passing minute. I have been known to have collards for breakfast with a fried egg on top. Of course, having a tendency toward mild anemia, I get a little crazed around iron-rich foods. Just put me in a room filled with meat and leafy greens and don't talk to me for three days.
The following technique is good for tough greens like collards, kale, and broccoli rabe, though I'd reduce the cooking time to about 10 minutes for the latter two. For more delicate greens like spinach, swiss chard, and young beet greens, you don't need any additional liquid beyond the water clinging to the leaves after you wash them. They'll also cook much more quickly, just a few short minutes for spinach.
Garlicky Collard Greens
The farm bacon around here is so rich and tasty, I find I only need a small amount of bacon fat to get the flavor I want. You can leave out the bacon entirely, or, if you crave more, by all means dice up a slice or two and fry it in the pot just short of crispy, then proceed from there.
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. bacon fat
2 cloves garlic, minced
Shake of red pepper flakes
1 bunch collard greens, washed, destemmed all the way up the center, leaves cut crosswise into wide strips
1/4 cup water (or stock)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Heat oil and bacon fat in large pot over medium heat. Sauté garlic and red pepper flakes about 15 seconds. Add collards, water, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, about 15-20 minutes. Some people cook them longer, say 45 minutes, but I like my greens to be tender while still retaining an ever-so-slight resistance. You're the boss—do what you like.