Give traditional braised collards some heat
Unless you grew up in the American South, you may not be familiar with braised collards. Although these greens are a staple of Southern cooking, the vegetable is somewhat of a mystery to many of us.
What are collard greens?
A tough, leafy green, collard greens, often called simply collards, have much in common with kale and mustard greens. In fact, they’re a relative of both. Not only are the leaves thicker than many greens, like spinach or arugula, they’re also fairly bitter. This is why braising is one of the most common cooking methods. The slow cooking with moist heat helps break down the tough leaves. And it’s a blank canvas method, meaning it invites the cook to add their favorite spice or flavoring agent to help downplay any remaining bitterness after the greens are cooked.
The best way to cook collards
Here, recipe creator Alana Chernila of Eating from the Ground Up adds Fire Cider to her braised collards. In fact, it was the folks who make Fire Cider who offered us the recipe, after we ran a review recommending their product. (You can read more about this Fire Cider tonic here.) They wanted to show us that their New England remedy was more than just a healing tonic to be drunk by the shot. And with this recipe, we discovered that the blend of cider vinegar, horseradish, ginger and honey works well to give a bitter dish like braised collards an acidic lift as well as the complexity of spice.
We enjoyed the recipe so much that we wanted to share this spicy variation on classic collards with our readers and we’re grateful to Chernila for letting us highlight her “secret sauce.” We love how the Fire Cider adds a sultry spice to braised collards, traditionally considered a not-so-sexy dish. With this added kiss of spice and the brightness of vinegar, we think you’ll soon view collards as an aphrodisiac classic.
A recipe for a simple side dish using collards with the spicy, tart flavor of Fire Cider.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 large bunch collard greens
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
- olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp Fire Cider
- To prepare the collards, de-stem each leaf then roughly chop the stems. Cut the remaining collard leaves into thin ribbons.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the chopped stems and 1/2 cup of the water and bring to a low boil.
- Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until the stems are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the collard leaves to the pot along with the remaining 1/4 cup water. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid, raise the heat to medium high, and add the garlic, stirring to combine and toss the greens in the buttery liquid for about 30 seconds.
- Remove the pan from heat.
- Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss with 2 tablespoons of Fire Cider. Taste, and add up to an additional tablespoon of Fire Cider depending on your preference.
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braised collards photo by Alana Chernila
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