Last night was the first snow of the year, and as the residual flakes melt away in the cool autumn sun today, I needed something hearty and warm to comfort my soul in mourning of summer’s end.
Earlier this week, we harvested our collard green plants and pulled up the remaining stalks to make room in the hoop house for some kale. Because collards are sort of outside the typical college student cooking repertoire, I ended up with a trash bag full of it, and what better on a cold day than to make braised collards and qunioa!?
For those unfamiliar with collard greens, they are a member of the Brassica family (read: broccoli, cabbage, mustard greens, etc.) and provide large hearty green leaves commonly used in cuisines of West Africa, Portuguese-speaking countries and the US South. And quinoa is a protein and fiber-rich “ancient” grain from South America, which has seen a culinary renaissance in the last years, making it more available in mainstream markets.
Below are the recipes for both – hopefully they bring you warmth and nourishment on a cold day, too!
Kickin’ Collard Greens with Quinoa
Yields about 6 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 slices bacon (alternatively, for vegetarians, wild mushrooms might be a great choice)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 pound fresh collard greens, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 cups dried quinoa
- 3 cups liquid (water, chicken or vegetable stock, or both)
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, crumble and return to the pan. Add onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant. Add collard greens, and fry until they start to wilt.
2. Pour in chicken broth, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until greens are tender.
You’ll need a 4 quart pot with a tight fitting lid, and a fine mesh strainer
1) Optional: Soak the quinoa for 5 min in the cooking pot. Soaking helps quinoa to cook evenly, and loosens up any residue of saponin (usually removed in processing), which can give a bitter taste. Most quinoa sold in the US these days has been cleaned, and steamed to remove the saponin, so don’t worry about that overly much.
To Rinse: Stir the quinoa with your hand, and carefully pour off the rinsing water, using a fine mesh strainer at the last
2) Drain quinoa well in the strainer, transfer to the cooking pot, add 3 cups liquid
3) Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer
4) Cook for 15 minutes
5) Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on
6) Fluff quinoa gently with a fork and add to pot of collards when done
7) Mix and allow to sit for a few minutes, then serve!