And the Oscar® goes to….Collard Greens!!

Collard Greens

Kale has been stealing the show for the past few years, it’s high time we recognize collard greens for their contribution to the “Green Party”.  A staple in the Southern U.S. for decades, this sturdy member of the Brassica family is world renowned – grown and served in Brazil, Portugal, Africa, Spain, Bosnia and India to name a few.  It’s old school, even the ancient Greeks grew both collard greens and kale.

Not to dis my Southern relatives, but there is more to collard greens than just ham hocks, turkey legs and bacon.  Believe me, I grew up eating that variety and it has it’s place, but traditionally they were always overcooked which leads to more bitterness and the need for massive amounts of hot sauce.  Again, not bad, just different and I happen to believe that less is more when it comes to cooking vegetables, as in more retained nutrition. These guys don’t need hours and hours of cooking and any traditional recipe (in my opinion) could be made better by cooking/steaming a maximum of 10 minutes.  The key is to chop them in a consistent manner – thickness and size (thin/small) – so that they cook rapidly and uniformly.

I love to add Indian dishes to meals.  Spices like curry and tumeric are part of my weekly regime with their distinct flavors and health advantages.  This is a super simple recipe for Saag which is a leaf-based dish eaten in South Asia with bread such as naan, or rice. Saag can be made from any chopped green, along with added spices and sometimes other ingredients such as paneer cheese.  If you are vegan, you can substitute coconut oil for the butter, you still get the richness.

1/2 c. butter
2 tsp. cumin seed
2 T tumeric
1 serrano chili, seeded and diced
2-4 minced garlic cloves
1 T minced fresh ginger
8-10 cups of chopped mixed greens (Collards, Kale, Spinach, Beet Greens, Chard, Turnip Greens, have fun!)
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander

In a large skillet or dutch oven melt the butter over medium heat, add cumin seed, tumeric, serrano, garlic, ginger and turmeric and stir for about 2-3 minutes.

Gradually add the chopped greens and stir until they are starting wilt. Add remaining spices, combine thoroughly and lower heat to low. Put a lid on it and let it steam for about 10 minutes.

Serve that at your party on Sunday and get nominated to repeat next year!

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