Recipes & Cooking Techniques: Boiled Greens

Boiled Greens

  • 3 pounds fresh, young turnip, collard or mustard greens
  • 1 1/2 pounds salt pork, with rind removed, cut into 1 -inch dice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
With a sharp knife trim away any bruised or blemished spots on the greens and strip the leaves from their stems.  Wash the leaves in several changes of cold water to remove all traces of dirt and sand.
In a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet, fry the salt pork over moderate heat, stirring the dice frequently with a slotted spoon until they are crisp and brown and have rendered all their fat.  Transfer the dice and liquid fat to a bowl and pour the water into the skillet.  Bring to a boil over high heat, meanwhile scraping in any brown particles that cling to the bottom and sides of the pan.  Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the greens in a heavy 4- to 6-quart pot and set over high heat.  Cover tightly and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the greens begin to wilt.  Stir in the pork fat and dice, the skillet liquid, and the onions and sugar.  Cover the pot again and continue to cook over moderate heat for about 45 minutes or until the greens are tender.
Drain off the cooking liquid and reserve it as “pot licker” for soups, or as a dunking sauce for cornbread.  Taste the greens, season them with as much salt and pepper as you think they need and serve at once.

Reprinted from American Cooking: Southern Style (Time-Life Books)

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