Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sauteed Collards with Roasted Chicken




                                                                                   
    Sauteed collard greens?  Ok, no yelling at me.  I really don't have the patience to cook a pot of greens all day, and the few times I had them cooked traditionally, they really weren't my cup of tea.  The texture was just a little too mushy for me, and I felt like I was missing out on all the great vitamins in the greens.  Cooking them this way is fast, easy, and tastes quite good!
    Collard greens are very low carb for a generous portion and are very inexpensive.  I usually buy a nice big bunch for less than $2 and if you store them in the following way, they'll stay good and fresh for well over a week in your fridge.

    First, wash your leaves very well in cool water, removing any debris or ick you might come across.  Pat them with a paper towel so they're not drippy.  A little wet is alright.  Take your leaves and remove the stem from the bottom of the leaf, then using a sharp steady knife, cut through the center of the leaf.


    After you've done this to a few leaves of similar size, layer them on top of each other and roll it up.  Slice through the leaves, making strips about a half an inch wide.  They don't have to be exactly uniform.


    If you have an extra wide leaf or two, no worries!  Cut the center of the leaf the same way, but then cut lengthwise through the leaf to make narrow strips, then continue on piling them up and slicing them.


    If you're not making all of them right now, put 2 plain paper towels (I use Bounty Basic) in a gallon size freezer bag.  Use the cheapest ones you can find.  Pile your cut collards into the bag, close it up and put it in the crisper drawer in your fridge.  Anytime you want a quick side of collards, they're right there washed and ready to go.  Oh, and write something on the label.  Collards are quite bitter raw, and you don't want someone mistaking them for the lettuce they thought they saw you putting in the fridge...  woops! 


    Finally, the cooking part.  Very simply, slice up some bacon.  I only use turkey bacon since I don't eat pork.  If you're using turkey bacon as well, either because you also don't eat pork, or need to entertain someone in the low fat camp (cough, cough), the best one out there is the Oscar Mayer reduced sodium.  It's got a better texture than their regular turkey bacon, and the sea salt they use makes it taste better.  No, it's still not regular bacon, but it's still pretty decent. 

    Take your bacon slices, and if using turkey bacon, put them in a warm skillet with a tablespoon of regular olive oil.  If you're using regular bacon, skip the olive oil and just use the bacon drippings for the next step.  When your bacon is almost crisp, add your collards to the skillet and saute them until they are dark green and tender but not too long that they burn.  You could throw in some thin sliced onion or a little minced garlic right before putting the greens in the pan.  Season your greens when they're tender and off the heat.  I stick with just sea salt and pepper, or once in while, a little bit of Sylvia's Sizzlin' Hot Spice (in a lot of super markets, I love the stuff).  I always have a dollop of sour cream on the side.  It just rounds it all out for me.

    Typically I pair up my greens with some roasted chicken thighs like I did in the pic on the top.  To do that, heat your oven to 425 (218 C).  Season your thighs with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried oregano.  Put them in a large glass baking dish, with space in between each one, don't crowd them or they'll boil and not roast.  Drizzle a little olive oil on top of each one and put them in the hot oven uncovered for at least an hour and fifteen minutes.  They're ready when the skin is super crisp (not burned) and you have fabulous golden drippings.  Light yellow and the skin is still a little soft, put them back in the oven.  Try to resist the urge to eat the crispy skin right out of the oven.  It is ethereal to say the least, but it'll burn up your mouth pretty good.  Give it a few minutes to cool.  You can use the drippings to flavor anything you want to taste good.  You could even drizzle a bit on your greens!

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