Sunday, February 17, 2013

CSA Veggie Box Experience - Week 1

We received our first veggie box from a local CSA this past week.  It was pretty straightforward in terms of how to prepare the items in it.  We received some collards, cabbage, kale, carrots, apples and tomatoes.  The apples and carrots will be used for lunches and the tomatoes used on grilled burgers and in salad.  We are going to try roasting the kale.  This will be our second attempt at doing this.  I think that first time we did this it did not turn out because we were too generous with the olive oil.  We are using the cabbage for slaw and in a recipe for deconstructed stuffed cabbage leaves that includes ground turkey and barley.  The biggest challenge came with the collard greens.  Since we are living in the South, we decided to try something traditional.  We slowed cooked the collards with a smoked ham hock.  For those of you who have never had collard greens, they take a surprisingly long time to least 60 minutes.  I'm actually not sure that you can overcook them.  This was an OK recipe.  The ham hock did impart a little smokiness and some richness (i.e., fat) to the greens.

Coming up in the next box: Turnip Greens, Butterhead Lettuce, Rutabagas, Bok Choy, Curly Parsley, and Mustard Greens.

Slow-Cooked Collard Greens

1 large bunches collard greens
11/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaves
1 smoked ham hock
1 quart chicken broth, warm
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


To prepare the greens: cut away the tough stalks and stems from the collards, and discard any leaves that are bruised or yellow. Wash the collards thoroughly to remove the grit, 2 or 3 times, until the water runs clear. Dry thoroughly. Tear the leaves into large pieces.

Place a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, and ham hock. Cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Pack in the greens, pushing them down into the pot. Add the broth and vinegar. Bring up to a boil turning the greens over occasionally with a wooden spoon as they wilt. Lower to a simmer, cover the pot, and let cook for 45 minutes. Taste the "pot liquor" (broth) and check the seasoning, add salt and pepper. Cover and let cook for 15 more minutes. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

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