For the next 2 months, I am doing a bit of a series: BBQ.  Now, I’m not doing 2 different BBQ meat recipes.  No, no.  Consider this more of a one-two-punch sort of thing.  First, I’m going to show you how I make my favorite BBQ side: collard greens.  Then, in April, I’ll drop what I consider my “signature” recipe that isn’t pasta-related.  You’ll just have to “tune in” next month to find out what that is.  

In my opinion, collards are severely underrated and underappreciated.  They’ve had a bit of a resurgence, but really, I don’t think they’re prevalent enough in our kitchens and they are freakin’ delicious!  This recipe is not all THAT traditional in that I don’t use smoked ham hocks.  That’s because I can’t always get my hands on them.  But, by all means, if you have them, use them.  If I could get them easily all of the time I’d use them every time. There’s also another cheat I use that you’ll see in the ingredients below.  Anyway, let’s get to the cooking!  Here are your ingredients:

Your ingredients: 

  • 1 bunch Collard greens (Thank you local farm Revelry Greens for these!)
  • ½ pound bacon, cubed
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 packet Goya Jamon powder (I KNOW IT’S CHEATING! Get the ham hocks if you can)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

First thing’s first.  Can we just look at how beautiful these collards are?  I mean, seriously.  They are a thing of beauty.  These came from a local farm (Revelry Greens) who I buy from as much as possible.  Nope, they did not ask me to plug them, I just like their local produce so much I felt compelled.  I mean, just look at these beauts!

Ok, enough food porn.  Let’s cook.  Chop all of your stuff. You want to chop the collards in ribs.  SO, much like you do with basil, stack the leaves and roll them up like one giant… cigar.  Cut them in about half-inch strips.  Before you unfurl them, cut once down the entire length of the “cigar.”  Otherwise, the pieces would be way too long.   Heat a large Dutch oven on medium-low heat and add the bacon.  Cook the bacon until it’s nice and crispy, then remove from the oven onto a paper towel-lined plate.  Now, there will be a decent amount of bacon fat in the pan.  Turn the heat up slightly to medium then add the onions.  Cook them for about 5 minutes or until they start to turn translucent.

Now add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the collards in and sauté them for about 5-10 minutes.  Add your chicken stock, vinegar, and that packet of cheat powder aka Goya Jamon. Stir until combined. Keep in mind you might not need as much stock as I put.  You want just enough to cover the greens plus an inch.   Crank the heat up and bring to a boil.  Once it hits a boil, turn down to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 60 minutes.  Turn the heat off, remove to bowl with a slotted spoon, serve with some tasty BBQ, and enjoy.  Yield: 4-5 servings. 

Now, if you like this recipe, or have any questions, feel free to email me tkmnewport@yahoo.com.  I may even post some of the questions here and answer them as part of the column. I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say.   

Thanks to Sharyl J for this email about the coconut chipotle chicken chili:

“Have made it twice now..  the second was to freeze for later and was a double batch….  needless to say, we really enjoyed it!  Thanks for sharing!—”

Thank you and I’m glad you liked it!  See you in April!!

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Jay Flanders

Jay Flanders is a native of Newport and avid cook. While he studied at the University of Rhode Island, he also attended the College of Food Network via his television set where he learned the basics of cooking. Also being an all-too-avid eater at restaurants, he really began to learn what ingredients went together, cooking techniques and other tips and tricks in the kitchen. He used that knowledge to teach himself how to cook and how to start making his own recipes. Now, he’s here to give you his tips, tricks and sometimes uniquely tasty spins on recipes and to show you that great cooking can be done is the tiniest of kitchens like his.