Cooking season is fast approaching, and for once I’m making the effort to get you one of my recipes ahead of time so that you can keep it in mind for your next big dinner. I grew up in the southern United States, so soul food is one of my favorite kinds of cuisine. It’s probably also the type of food that I’m able to cook best (see my chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits recipes). I don’t get around to cooking it as much as I like, so I thought that while I was whipping up a batch of greens today, I’d share my recipe with you.
As with all southern food, take the quantities as a light suggestion. Feel free to add more of the things you like, less of the ones you don’t, and swap out anything where you see fit!
1 pack of greens (That’s about two heads of greens– spring or collard work well)
1 stock cube of your flavour choice (I’m using vegetable because that was in my cabinet)
2 tbspn all-purpose seasoning
1 tspn salt
1 hunk of smoked meat (I used offcut bacon chunks, but you can use a turkey neck or leg as well)
1/4 cup vinegar
1 chopped red pepper
1 chopped onion (I like red onions)
3 minced cloves garlic
1 tspn oil for frying
***Tip: Prep time isn’t very long for greens, but allow at least an hour or two for them to stew. Even longer is better if you can.***
Fill a large pot with water about 2/3 of the way. Add stock cube, all-purpose seasoning, salt, smoked meat, and vinegar and bring to a boil with the lid on.
While your mixture is simmering, chop your veggies and very lightly fry in your oil. It should only need 3-5 minutes to soften up.
Next wash your leaves, and break off and discard the hard stem at the bottom. Lay a stack of leaves on top of one another, roll, then slice them about 1-1.5 inches thick to create slices.
Place half of your greens in the pot, then half of your chopped veggies, then the remainder of your greens topped with the last of your veggies. Don’t worry if everything isn’t covered in the water right now because the greens will cook down.
Allow this to simmer on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stir, and then reduce your heat to a low setting. Be sure to leave your lid on. The longer you can leave your greens, the more flavor they will absorb. Leave them on a low heat for at least an hour. My best greens have cooked for around 5-6 hours, though that isn’t a requirement. You’ll know they’re ready to eat when they become soft and take on a dark green colour.