When I first saw a recipe for collard greens and potatoes in one dish, I thought 'OMG some non-Southerner is messing up collard greens...again'. After all, who would put this together. Just because collard greens are one of the new 'in' vegetables doesn't give you permission to mess 'em up.
This recipe did have a few things going for it. It was from Deborah Madison, a chef well known for her work with vegetables. It contained that 'b' ingredient - bacon. If it was really bad, I could at least pick out the bacon. And finally, I had collard greens in the garden. I could afford to 'mess up' a few.
Collards with Potatoes
2 bunches collard greens or a mixture of collards and kale
3 medium potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 or 4 slices of bacon, diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Hot pepper sauce or vinegar for the table
1. Remove the tough center stem. Slice greens crosswise into ½-inch strips. Wash in several changes of water. Drain. Set aside. (This can be done ahead of time. Refrigerate until ready to cook.)
2. Wash potatoes and cut into about 1-inch cubes. Set aside.
3. Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil. Add about 2 teaspoons of salt. Add greens and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. (This will change depending on the toughness of your greens and how tender you like your greens.) Add potatoes and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside. Pour out all but one tablespoon fat. Add the olive oil. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 1 minute.
5. Drain greens and potatoes. Add to onion mixture. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Stir occasionally. Cook until water evaporates. Add bacon. Taste and re-season, if necessary.
It was good! I was pleasantly surprised. As I tell my students, keep an open mind. You won't know if you like it until you have tried it.