I’m not sure how this happened but over the years I have gravitated towards the same two ingredients as reliable, staple additions to a meal: greens and beans. Please do not confuse this with my affinity for the green bean. I like greens and beans as independent veggie and legume too! Specifically, I have grown quite fond of collards lately. For a long time collards intimidated me. They are, quite frankly, massive. While kale (another fave of mine) is durable and able to withstand high heats (to turn into chips!) or delicious raw, collards are far too bitter to be turned into a salad and too flimsy to turn into a chip. Collards aren’t very versatile. This pissed me off.
However, while perusing the net a while back, I stumbled upon a recipe that caught my eye. A collard green dish! A braised one. And…it was vegetarian! I felt like I hit the jackpot. I didn’t. The dish called for maple syrup as an added ingredient to cut through the bitterness of the greens. For some silly reason I did not taste while braising and in the end, I nearly candied my collards! Gross. The dish was so overly sweet from the syrup that I could not fathom how anyone has thought to post that on the internet. What I did learn from the recipe though, was that collards need to be braised. When you immerse collard greens in a liquid for an extended period of time, they become tender and absolutely delicious. I definitely used this tip and continued to make (and enjoy) these big guys. Tonight, however, I endeavored on the maple route yet again (albeit tweaking the recipe to my liking.) This time, it was a delicious success along with tonight’s warm avocado and black bean salad.
Maple Braised Collard Greens
2 bundles collard greens, washed and thinly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
2 t maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable stock
S&P to taste
1. Heat large, deep pan with oil and saute garlic for 1 min.
2. Add greens in intervals (greens wilt to MEAGER quantities—remember this when you’re overloading your pan!) Toss in olive oil and garlic. Cook 1 min.
3. Add stock and syrup. Toss with tongs. Cover with lid and allow to braise for 10-15 minutes.
Warm BBA Salad
Serves 3-4 smaller portions
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 shallot, chopped finely
1 red bell pepper
1 T turmeric
1/4 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1 handful cilantro (or parsley, for all you haters >_<)
the juice and zest of 1 lime
1 T red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tomatoes, chopped
1. Sweat shallot in olive oil for 1 minute. Add vinegar and spices, saute until just browned.
2. Add pepper, tomatoes, and parsley, and lime zest to pan. Sautee for 2-3 mins.
3. Place veggie mixture into a bowl and toss with rinsed black beans.
4. Chop avocado, toss into mixture.
5. Pour lime juice over mixture, add S&P to taste. Serve warm.