Collard Greens with Red Onions and Bacon (Recipe from the always-helpful Gourmet Cookbook)
The traditional Southern method of preparing collard greens involves, as we like to say in our family, "cooking all the nutrients out of them." This produces the delectable broth known as pot likker, but I can understand the complaint: it'd be nice to have Southern style greens with a little texture and life left in them. To fill the gap, I submit this excellent recipe via the Gourmet Magazine Cookbook: Collard Greens with Red Onions and Bacon. The combination of pork, caramelized onion, and cider vinegar produces truly tasty and not entirely killed greens that will stand up nicely to any Southern dish. The fact that they are entirely easy to make is icing on the cake.
* 1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into fourths
* 3 medium red onions, chopped coarse (about 3 cups)
* 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
* 1/4 cup cider vinegar
* 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar, or to taste
* 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
* 4 pounds collard greens (preferably small leaves), coarse stems and ribs discarded and leaves and thin stems washed well, drained, and chopped coarse
Begin by browning the bacon. I didn't have any bacon on hand, but I did have some fatback, which made a perfectly fine substitute. Once the bacon is browned, pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the drippings. In the remaining luscious pork fat, throw in your sliced red onions and cook until nicely browned. Transfer to a bowl and keep them aside. You will be meeting them again.
To the aforementioned pan, add the chicken broth, the cider vinegar, the brown sugar, the red pepper flakes, and about half of your preserved pork product (be it bacon or fatback or whatever.)
Now, begin to add the collards in handfuls, stirring to ensure proper wiltage. Once wilted, cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once 30 minutes are up, stir in the red onions and simmer for 30 minutes more. Serve topped with the remaining bacon or fatback. You are free to drink the pot likker, like civilized people do.