Collard Greens? Really?

So there I was, out our CSA farm, Brookfield Farm, when I had the chance to grab some collard greens.  In case you missed it, a CSA farm is a farm where you can buy shares, and pick up all kinds of fruits and vegetables from spring until fall.  It’s just the freshest food around.  The upside is great food for over six months.  The downside is the possibility of a kale overdose by early July.

So when I saw the collard greens, I had three thoughts.  One was that I’ve never cooked them.  The second was that I have a vague idea how to cook them.  And the third thought was that I’d only had them in bbq joints.  I realize that spending my life north of the Mason Dixon line made these greens a rarity in most kitchens.  So when  I had a chance to grab the collard greens or the kale, there was no contest.  So I looked in my cookbooks, and found nothing.  Shockingly, my 1973 Joy of Cooking made no mention of these huge leafy greens.  So I went online, and saw that most non-vegetarian recipes included ham hocks, or various smoked pork or turkey parts.  Well, that wasn’t going to happen.  So I made up a recipe.

Apparently, like many of these leafy greens, cooking them for a while is a big deal.  By all accounts, collard greens need around 30 minutes to swim around in whatever liquid seems appealing.  Which is why I came up with a combo of tomatoes and chicken stock.  And I went with bone-in chicken thighs.  That way, with longer cooking (30 minutes), the bones would make everything taste better, and the thighs wouldn’t dry out, like breast meat could.

Finally, I had some dry rub lying around.  This was leftover from some smoked brisket.  I thought the dry rub would work well with this southern green.

The main thing you want to remember is to remove the stalks from the leaves.  The easiest way to do this is to just tear each half off the of the stalk.  Then soak the collard greens to remove the dirt. It’s that easy.

So how’d it turn out?  Well, Karen liked it.  That’s all I care about.  But I did too, which is a plus.  So here’s the recipe.  It’s a great summer dish.  And it goes well with rice, pasta, or quinoa.  Make a lot.  It’s great for leftovers.

And yes, I’ll write about more CSA adventures as the summer goes on.  My two favorite foods are coming: tomatoes and corn!

Chicken Thighs with Collard Greens

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, peeled and sliced

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (or 3-4 fresh tomatoes, peeled seeded, and diced)

2 cups chicken stock (or water)

1 bunch collard greens, rinsed, stems removed, and chopped

8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin removed

salt and pepper or your favorite dry rub

(a sample dry rub: 1 tablespoon each of salt, pepper, and paprika.  Plus 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and ½ tablespoon cumin.  Combine all of the ingredients)

  1. In a stock pot, over a medium heat, add the oil and sauté the onions until golden and mostly cooked through, approximately 15 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, stock, and collard greens to the onions. Bring to a boil, and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, rub the dry rub onto the chicken pieces.  If you’re not using the dry rub, then sprinkle the pieces with salt and pepper)
  4. Add the chicken to the stock pot, and submerge the chicken in the liquid, if possible.
  5. Simmer the mixture for 25 minutes, or until the chicken thighs are cooked through.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Chicken Thighs with Collard Greens, with a side of new carrots roasted beets

Makes 4 servings.