As the temperature begins to drop (or if you are in NYC, bounces between 65 and 85 degrees), the local produce begins to change. In place of tomatoes and peppers, we are seeing squash and root vegetables. Of all of the fall and winter vegetables, my favorite, hands down, are the greens. From kale to swiss chard to collards, I’m in love. There are simply no other veggies that I actually crave.
What makes winter greens so great is how simple they are to prepare and how few ingredients are needed to make a tasty side dish (mostly just pantry staples). The recipe below is a rough one. I switch things around all of the time. For the oil, I will use rendered bacon fat (and will top the finished greens with the crisped bacon). For the red wine vinegar, I’ll sometimes throw in some balsamic. If I don’t have shallots on hand, I will finely chop a little onion. This recipe is all about flexibility and ease.
If you haven’t tried these leafy greens before, take a chance. There are so many out there. In addition to the aforementioned ones, try escarole and mustard greens. Each is packed with vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and beta-carotene. In addition to this easy side dish, they can be tossed into pastas and soups. They are versatile, and did I mention, they’re delicious?
Braised Winter Greens
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse for FoodNetwork.com
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- red pepper flakes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 8 cups (firmly packed) winter greens, washed, dried, ribs removed, and torn into 2-inch pieces
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet or wok. Add shallots, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until shallots are translucent (not browned), about 2-3 minutes.
- Add greens, garlic, and chicken stock (in order to fit all of the greens in the pan, they might need to be added a little at a time).
- Cook for 8-10 minutes*, or until greens are tender and most of the stock has evaporated. Stir occasionally.
- Remove pan from heat. Add vinegar and butter. Stir and serve.*Collard greens may take longer than 8-10 minutes to become tender. Check doneness frequently, and if pan becomes dry, add more stock or water.