Monday, November 11, 2013

The Best Greens Evah {A Tale of Two Recipes}

My Mema can cook.  If I were in 3rd grade I'd say "my Mema can cook better than your Mema", but I'm not so I'll refrain.  ;)

There are some people who stick meticulously to their recipe cards and cook wonderful meals.  Then there are those people who have those recipe cards tucked away somewhere, but have committed them to memory and improved on them over the years.  When you watch them cook it's like watching someone create art on a plate.  A pinch of this, a heaping spoon of that, stir 'til it looks right, give it a taste test, and voila....a masterpiece.

Time is taking its toll, but in her hey-day that was my Mema.  Sunday dinner was magic.  If you are lucky enough to have one of her recipes, you do not deviate.  She doesn't just give you the list of ingredients, she gives you her tips on how to make it turn out right every. single. time.

But occasionally I come across someone else who shares that "art" of cooking and their recipe is a just a tad different from Mema's.  What's a girl to do???

The answer, my dears, is to take the best from both and create your own masterpiece.  :)

Greens were one of my Mema's specialties....but they are also a specialty of a former co-worker of mine!  They are a Fall staple in my house...even our little Poppy girl loves them {pureed and sans bacon fat}.  Using fresh greens yields the best result, hands down.  But frozen greens are what I reach for more often than not, simply because they are more convenient.  After a couple of years of tweaking, I've come up with the perfect combination of the recipes of the two ladies who taught me to cook fabulous, savory greens.  I think it honors the spirit of both their recipes.  Enjoy!

The Best Greens Evah


2 - 16 oz packages frozen greens of your choice (I use mustard and collard) OR 8 cups loosely packed fresh greens, stems removed (you can buy fresh greens bagged, de-stemmed, and pre-rinsed...use two bags if you go this route)
1 ham hock
2 large cloves garlic (or 4 small), crushed
1 yellow onion, finely sliced
white vinegar
bacon fat (yes, bacon fat!)


Remove all stems (if using fresh greens) and put greens in large pot.  Add water just to cover and bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes.

Strain and rinse greens in hot tap water.  Return to pot and again, just cover with water.

Add ham hock and bring to boil.

Add garlic, onion, 2 Tbsp of bacon fat, and 2 capfuls of white vinegar (about 1-1 1/2 Tbsp).

Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook 30 minutes to a couple of hours.  The longer they cook the more intense the flavor will be.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.  Enjoy!

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