Greens. Greens. Greens. Gimme all the greens.
Greens are a staple to many cuisines throughout the world. But, I feel like much of America is lacking in traditional greens dishes. Sure the South has their beloved slow cooked collards, but no other significant dish comes to mind. Am I just blanking here? Please let me know of any you can think of in the comments!
I fell in love with the spicy stewed callaloo (aka amaranth) greens of Jamaica when we lived their in the winter months on and off for a few years. The spicy flavor and heat comes from the addition of scotch bonnet or heirloom habanero peppers. We eat this dish often, substituting callaloo with the hearty greens available here like kale, chard and collards.
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Spicy Stewed Greens
We eat a lot of fresh raw cucumber in salads and as sandwich toppings but did you know how wonderful they are when cooked?! Their mild flavor pairs wonderfully with the earthy greens and spicy pepper, and they release their liquid as they cook to create a lovely gravy for the greens to stew in.
We almost always serve these greens over rice and top them with fresh coconut milk or cream. You can add some tofu or cooked chickpeas and cook them right in with the greens if you are wanting more protein in your meals. These greens would also be nice as a sauce for pasta. Cook the pasta a minute under "al dente" then drain and add to the simmering greens to finish the cooking. Serve with a dollop of soy labneh or top with coconut milk.
- 1 bunch of kale (4-6 stalks)
- 1 bunch of swiss chard (4-6 stalks)
- 2 cups diced onion
- 2 cups diced unpeeled cucumber
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 10 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon minced or grated fresh ginger root
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground habanero-depending on how hot you want it to be
- sea salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-2 cups of water
- Wash and drain kale and chard. Finely chop the greens by first stacking them one on top of another, then rolling them up lengthwise and chopping then into thin strips (similar to how you would chiffonade basil leaves). You can also roughly chop up the greens and then chop them up finely in a food processor.
- Once you have all of your other veggies and seasonings prepped, heat a large skillet on a medium-high flame. My tip to avoid oil splattering is to toss the vegetables and seasonings (except the salt) in the olive oil first and then add them to the heated skillet at once. Stir with a wooden spoon for a bit. As the veggies start to brown add the salt and 1 cup of the water. Stir to incorporate and to deglaze any brown bits from the pan. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes until veggies are tender and greens are soft. If all of the liquid has been soaked up or evaporated then add the remaining cup of water and raise heat to make it bubble up. Once bubbled, turn off heat.
- Remove sprigs of thyme before serving. Enjoy!
If serving with brown rice like I have shown here, get the rice cooking before you start the greens. Served here topped with coconut milk and fresh tomato and avocado
This dish is best eaten the day it is made.
You can substitute any greens you want or have already on hand.
If using fresh habanero pepper, it's harder to regulate the resulting heat, but I suggest cutting off a 1/4 sized piece to start than add more if you think it needs more heat.
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