Thanksgiving approacheth. Each family has their own unique idea of exactly what better by golly be on that table. It can get ugly. Fast. I’ve always liked to mix things up a bit because I like to try new things, and I guess in some way it diverts the conversation away from the discussions that could potentially send someone home in tears or handcuffs — or worse.
Green vegetables were not a centerpiece of my family’s traditional meal. Broccoli casserole, green beans and coleslaw were present and delicious. I wanted to add an option to what you all may or may not prepare. Edward Lee is one of my favorite chefs. (I watch lots of food TV.) I watched him make collard greens similar to these and have grown to love them like a kid loves cake. I hope your holidays are filled with joy, lots of green and above all, love. Cheers!
4 slices bacon
1 tablespoon bacon fat (render 4 slices bacon) save the crispy bacon for topping
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1½ cups diced country ham (about 10 ounces)
1½ pounds collard greens, washed, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2½ cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup red cabbage-bacon kimchi or store-bought chow chow
1/2 cup crumbled pork rinds
1/3 cup crushed peanuts
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the bacon fat and butter in a cast iron or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Once the butter starts to foam, add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes, or until they get a little color. Add the ham and cook for 3 minutes, until it is crispy but not too brown. Lower heat to medium. Add the collards, chicken stock and soy sauce. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste the collards. They should be tender but still have a little chew to them.
Add the vinegar to the greens and cook for 1 minute.
Toss the kimchi or chow chow into the pot with the greens. Mix together and taste for tenderness and seasoning. Top with bacon, peanuts and lastly chopped pork rinds. Serve immediately, juices and all.
Sharon Little is a community contributor for the Kingsport Times News.