I’m not sure if this is a Southern thing or what, but growing up in Tennessee as a kid, we always ate collard greens on New Year’s day to bring good fortune for the year. Legend says that their green leaves look like folded money and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. Black eyed peas are said to bring luck. My dad would boil the collards with a ham hock and we would feast on the silky and deliciously tender result.
Greens are quite the super food; I spend a lot of time preaching about it. High in minerals and vitamin K, they are chlorophyll-rich and oxygenating. Any green will do for your new year’s brunch, but we always did collards. Kale, turnip/beet greens, or chard will also do. There are so many ways to prepare them. As I mentioned, in the South we boiled the shit out of them and enjoyed them tender and smoky with ham hock. Cooking them that long does decrease nutrients, so here is another option. I think I got it out of Bon Appetit some years ago. It involves bacon. Yes, please. Happy new year!
Collard Greens with Bacon Recipe
Chef’s tip: don’t overcook the bacon. It should be barely brown around the edges and still somewhat raw-looking in the middle.
• 4 strips thick-sliced organic bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 small yellow onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• Several dashes hot sauce, if desired
• 1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
• 2 pounds collard greens, stems removed, sliced into 3-inch-wide strips (can substitute kale or chard)
• 1 cup chicken broth (or water)*
1 Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Cook the bacon in the skillet until it just begins to brown around the edges, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon. Add the onions and cook in bacon fat until they have softened and are just starting to brown.
2 Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about a minute. Add the vinegar, bring to a simmer, and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by half, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
3 Add the collard greens and the chicken broth (or water) and bring to a simmer. Reduce the temp to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the collard greens have wilted. Add bacon back to pan and cook everything together. Season to taste with additional vinegar and hot sauce. Serve with some of the pan juices from the pan. I also like to put spicy sauce (like Sriracha) on it.
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.
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