Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's really easy being green... when you're my Collard Greens!

I've been feeling nostalgic for Southern holiday food the last few years, and have been recreating the recipes I loved when I lived in Georgia.

I didn't appreciate collard greens then, but have grown to love Love LOVE them now!  I had to search for recipes to base my own on, since most use a ham bone, ham hock (!) or fat back (!!), none of which are easily found by me way up here in the Great White North.
So I use bacon. 

Yes, heresy.
I know. Whatevs.
It works and it tastes phenomenal, and it's smoky and salty and meaty and easy, and I don't have a bone to deal with.

Here's my recipe-- remember, do NOT throw out the liquid. That is called "pot liquor" and is prized for taste and nutrients (but not looks) in the South (I drink it like a sort of salty soup, and never share!)

2 bunches of collards (or 1 collard and 1 chard if you want)
1 red bell pepper
2-4 slices of bacon (let's say we make this with 2 slices of thick cut bacon)
1 small onion (of any kind).
1.5c chicken stock, and 1.5 c water
red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
big pot to cook in


Cut up the bacon into small pieces, and start that frying in the pot. I put in a little water to help it render w/out burning.
Chop the onion nto medium sized pieces  and put that in next, then the red bell pepper. Just get them sweating a bit, get the rawness out.

While that is going on, prepare the greens.
Clean the greens, and cut the stems off. You can cut the really thick stem out of the leaves, but you don't have to go nuts. I've left some of the in-leaf-stem on, and it got plenty soft enough to eat.
I like to cut the leaves in 1/2 length wise, then in 3 or 4 sections along the length (I stack them and cut a bunch at once). Again, a bit of stem doesn't seem to hurt anything.

Plop that in, and pour in the chicken stock and water. You can add more water if you think you need it, but the greens don't need to be covered in water (they will melt down).

Cover. Bring to boil, then reduce to way low simmer.

Simmer... forever.
At least till greens are soft to your liking (let's say an hour), or let them sit there all day while you do other stuff.
Only salt at the end, but you can add
chili flakes if you like, up front. Go easy, the heat builds.

The leaves get darker as it cooks longer... this batch still needs to go for a bit.
I could seriously eat at least 1/2 a batch by myself, at least, but, here are the nutrition stats for you to decide for yourself:

Making 4 servings:
73 calories (see? told you, you could eat the whole thing!)
4g total fat
5mg cholesterol
403 mg sodium (not counting if you add more salt)
236mg potassium
5g carbohydrates
1g fiber
4g "net carbohydrates" if you count those
5g protein

other nutrition info:
108% of daily vitamin C
44% of daily vitamin A
10% of daily Niacin

What a Crock!: No Tomato Turkey Chili

How cute is this?
I found it at

I love my husband. A lot.  So much so, that even though he has a pretty serious food intolerance to tomatoes (and eggplants, and to a certain extent, peppers...), I'm still married to him. :D

I know what you're thinking-- allergic to tomatoes? I know, right? Weird.  But, actually, in my 10+ years of working with and around this situation, I've discovered that it's not entirely unheard of (see? I even found a logo for it!). Other folks in his family have versions of the same thing, to different degrees.
Anyway, while I looooooooove all things tomato (and eggplant, but that's another post...), I've learned to live without them, and more challengingly (is that a word? it is now!), to COOK without them.

Seriously-- take a few minutes, and peruse your recipes.  Everything is "add a can of tomatoes" to this, and "add 2T of tomato paste" to that... I didn't realize how vital it was to the way I cooked until I couldn't do it anymore.
We've found some workarounds, one of which is for him to take an antacid/acid-reducer pill prior to a meal where we think he won't be able to avoid tomatoes (for example, when we travel to Mexico.  He sticks to grilled meats, but even he sometimes wants a little variety!).
That little trick will NOT work with a big bowl of meaty tomato sauce or chili though. And sometimes, a guy just wants some chili without taking his well being and happiness for the next several hours into his hands.
So, here is my take on a tomato-free chili. 
I made it with extra lean ground turkey because I wanted something lighter in calories, but you can use whatever ground meat (meats?) you'd like... it will work great with beef, mix of beef and pork, chicken, some sausage... go for it.

I also didn't load it with veggies, but if you want to sneak some in there, I'd suggest chopping some green and red bell peppers, and maybe adding some zucchini too.  Calorie counts obviously will change with all of the above.
Finally-- since I do try to (sometimes) keep carbohydrate counts low(ish), I've used black soy beans.  I know there is a LOT of literature around soy.  I have to say, I don't eat a lot of soy. Some soy sauce now and then, maybe an edamame when I'm out at a Japanese restaurant. 
But I have to say, the black soy beans are WAY lower in carbohydrates (I'm looking at "net carbs" which is the carbohydrate grams minus the fiber grams) than comparable regular black beans (here, check for yourself: 
Eden Foods Black Beans Nutrition Info  vs Eden Foods Black Soy Beans Nutrition Info).
So, with all that said, here is the recipe!  Enjoy some yummy, comforting, tomato-free goodness :)
Make 6 hearty servings

1 kilogram extra lean ground turkey (that's 2 packages from the store I buy from) (that's about 2.2lbs)
1 large spanish onion, peeled and chopped
3 1/2 cups black soy beans (that's 2 cans)
6 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt

pepper to taste (black and red flakes if you like it spicy!)
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons olive oil

Set up a large crockpot first.
Brown the ground turkey and 1/2 the chili powder in a skillet, using the oil.  You can do this in 2 batches, depending on the size of your pan.  Drain extra liquid into the crockpot-- don't want to lose any flavor!
Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion into small pieces.
Dump the ground turkey/chili powder into the crock pot. Use the same skillet to cook the onion briefly.  Try to scrape up any brown turkey goodness using the liquid coming out of the onions.
Once they are wilted a bit, dump that into the crockpot with the turkey.
Add in the rest of the spices, as well as the 2 cans of black soy beans (including their liquid-- the liquid in mine is just water and a bit of seaweed), and give it all a stir.

Cook on low for 6hrs, or high for 3hrs.  Serve however you like (but anything you add will have more calories, of course!)

This is 3 of the 6 servings. We've eaten the other ones before I could post about it!

Not a gorgeous picture, but I wanted you to see the size of the container. I think these hold 2c, and they are pretty much full.

Nutrition Info:
per serving (1/6th of the batch)
400 calories
19g fat
100mg cholesterol
949 mg sodium
606 mg potassium
18g carbohydrate
12g fiber
46g protein

other info:
41% of your iron
16% of your calcium
20% of your zinc
66% of your vitamin A
11% of your folacin