Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Connemara Collard Greens

I don't want to be like Pvt. Bubba from Forrest Gump and his shrimp - but its another turnip leaf recipe.
Its a very economical way of using something we Irish would normally throw away.

Anyone with a kitchen garden will need to thin plants out, and that includes turnip.

The main leaves I used were from Milan Purple top, but cabbage leaf, beetroot leaf and mustard greens can all be used. Kale is ideal for this recipe.

We have great bacon and cabbage in this country, but as a change from the usual ham and parsley sauce all the cabbage and bacon recipes on this blog are variations on that tradition, its nothing unusual, just a way at looking at things a little differently.

In the states this is made a lot with ham hocks or salted smoked meats like turkey leg - the main idea is to get as much flavour into the stock as is possible.

Collard greens are a staple of the southern States of the US, served with the cheaper preserved cuts of meat like smoked pork collar is obviously based on what would be a poor mans food, but it is full if taste and flavour.
This, along with corn bread and gumbo, is the taste of the south.

I just fiddled around with it a little to suit the ingredients more to Ireland.

Anyway - these are the ingredients I used
3 rashers
1 pint chicken stock
balsamic vinegar
Chili powder
3 full onions - including leaf
Clove of garlic
Mixed leaves, about 2 Ibs mostly turnip with some beetroot leaf and Mustard greens
Salt and pepper

Prepare the greens by washing well. Remove large stems and fairly finely shred the leaves, just grab a bunch, ball 'em up fairly tight and slice into them

Melt butter in a heavy based pot
Put in chopped bacon (or other strong flavoured meat) diced onions, garlic and a good belt of Tabasco, a little vinegar and a good pinch of chili powder. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Saute in the pot on a low to medium heat until onion opaque and soft

Add 1 pint chicken stock, raise heat and bring to the boil

Reduce heat to a simmer - pile in the greens (I filled the pot)
Cover and allow greens to reduce

After about 20 minutes give them a stir, get the broth all over the greens - taste now to adjust seasoning, you can even add more greens if you like.
Allow to cook for a further 10 minutes

Serves about 3 people.

That's it - I served it with a simple champ potato's (mashed with some butter, milk and Shallots) and some spiced up pork that was diced and dusted with a flour/paprika/chili powder mix and fried with a little chorizo.

Simple, cheap southern staple, strong tasting - more an autumn or spring meal.

Goes very well with light, fruity whites - I had it with a Besthelm 2006 Muscat from Alsace, no great fan of whites but this was good - so I guess any Reisling type white would work well.
I'd also reccommend getting some Polsh sour dough bread to go with this - really sets it off well.

It freezes very well so if you have a lot of leaves, eat what you can and save the rest

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