Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Green is Great

Braised Greens
I like to have something green on my plate whenever possible -- with the exception of breakfast, that is. Salads will suffice; and salads are a great way to start a restaurant meal to keep you from overeating later. (Just be sure not to have a fat- and calorie-laden salad!)
Here's a recipe for braised greens that's a delicious and super-healthful side dish with any meat or seafood you might be serving.
Substitute kale, Swiss chard, or even spinach for some of the greens in the recipe. Make it vegetarian by using veggie broth instead of chicken broth; also omit the cheese, and it's vegan. Or you can kick it up in flavor with 1/2 cup of diced ham and/or a dash of cayenne pepper.
The recipe makes a large amount, so there will be plenty for leftovers, or you can serve a big group first time around. The greens taste good hot, room temperature or even cold from the fridge. Looking for something healthy to bring along to a summer cookout? This could work!

Recipe: Braised Southern Greens
Serves 8-10

2 T olive or canola oil
2 cups finely chopped aromatic vegetables (a mix of onion, celery, carrots and bell peppers)
1-2 T minced garlic
1 10-12-ounce package sliced mushrooms
11/2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 lb. rinsed, chopped Southern greens (collard, mustard, turnip)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 T toasted nuts (such as pine nuts, almonds or pumpkin seeds, or a mix)
Shredded mozzarella cheese, to taste (optional)


Heat oil in a large, deep bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add vegetables and stir well. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until vegetables soften, about 3-4 minutes. Uncover and stir in garlic, then add mushrooms. Add a little broth if the pan seems too dry. Cover again and let mushrooms soften, about 3-4 minutes.
Increase heat to medium, uncover and add the rest of the broth and one-third of the greens along with salt and pepper. Keep adding greens a little at a time while their volume reduces. Once all the greens are in the pan, cover and cook on low for 25-30 minutes, until the greens are tender. Remove from heat, adjust seasonings as needed, and stir in vinegar.
Ladle into a serving bowl, sprinkle with nuts and (if using) cheese. 

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