Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays - Bacon and Brown Sugar Braised Collard Greens

Hi Y'all! (Said in Paula Deen's voice!!)
This past Saturday, Mark and I decided to take a field trip to Savannah. We live so close to this great city that people travel from all over to get to, and we rarely take an opportunity to spend time there. So we hopped over there with plans to really make a day of touring around Savannah. We wanted to take a trolley or carriage tour, walk the many squares, and stroll down River Street. Mother Nature had a very different idea of how we should spend our day. When we were about twenty minutes outside of Savannah, it started pouring. Oh no! What would we do? We figured today would be as good a day as any to try our luck at getting into Paula Deen's Lady and Son's without a reservation. I figured - who would be crazy enough to wait outside in this kind of rain?? A lot of folks actually!!! The line was ridiculous, but I waited in it only to see a sign that said "Sorry Y'all, We full for lunch." Heartbreak... The very helpful girl behind the counter came to my rescue and said, if it's a party of two we can take you right now at a high top table. Heck yes!

Mark and I followed the herd of people being shuffled into the elevator and landed on the third floor. Every possible seat in the restaurant was taken. Our waiter gave us a choice of several yummy menu options, but we decided on the buffet, since he said that's what first timers should do. I must admit, I am not much of a buffet eater, but this was great. Popeye's is of course the world's best fried chicken, but Paula's was very very good. We had mac and cheese, black eyed peas, mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed corn, slow cooked green beans. It was all wonderful and felt very comforting on such an icky day. But by far the best dish was the braised collard greens. They were spicy and slightly bitter, but also salty and a tad sweet. They were just the way I love them!

I love to make a big pot of greens during the fall. They are a great comfort food, and you can often find them at the farmers markets this time of year. I have tried several recipes, but this one is my favorite by far. I feel that the longer they can simmer, the better they are. So make these on a day when you can start them early and let them cook down for a while. It's truly worth the wait - much like lunch at Lady and Sons!!

Bacon and Brown Sugar Braised Collard Greens
8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)
2 bacon slices
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (16-ounce) package prewashed torn collard greens
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add onion and garlic to drippings in pan; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in crumbled bacon, 2 cups water, and next 4 ingredients (through pepper). Gradually add greens. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until tender.

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