What’s a collard green? Most likely the green part of a collard? What’s a collard? The part that’s not green?
Being Paleo, I don’t eat dairy products. Being a human being, I know that I need calcium to keep my bones looking like bones. Collard greens are a good source of calcium. It turns out that they allegedly also have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties. In addition to this they are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and a bunch of other useful nutrients.
So, what are collard greens? They are a member of the cabbage family. Basically they are like a cabbage without a head. (The word “collard” means “headless cabbage” in some language. I suppose that makes sense. If a collar is something you wear around your neck, then it’s not a big leap to assume that collared becomes headless.)
Now that we know how good they are for you, and sort of what they are, how do you cook them? It takes about an hour and, when done right, they are very tasty.
Here is what you need:
- About 2 pounds of collard greens
- 6 slices of bacon (fried until crispy, also save the bacon grease)
- 1 medium yellow onion (sliced or chopped)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- About a quart of water (enough to cover the greens by about 2 or 3 inches)
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- A large pot with a lid
Here is what you do:
First, wash each leaf on both sides to remove any residual sand or grit. Remove the stems and the ribs in each leaf. Some people soak the greens in a little salted water for an hour before cooking. (I’ve tried it both ways and can’t tell the difference.)
Put the greens, cooked bacon and the bacon grease, chopped onion, crushed red pepper and salt in a large covered pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour. If the greens don’t seem tender cook a little longer. If you look at the old collard green recipes it just says to cook them for “a very long time”. Mine seem to turn out pretty good after about an hour to an hour and a half.
This dish is traditionally served with cornbread and they dip the bread in the left over juice or “liquor”. Because this is a Paleo recipe, I’m not going to suggest that. However, the juice is really good and is also nutrient dense. If you can find something to soak it up with you will enjoy it.