Brazilian-Style Collard Greens

>> Sunday, October 16, 2016

Brazilian-Style Collard Greens

I confess I don't know much at all about Southern Cooking - I'm about as Yankee as you can get. Like most Midwesterners about my age, we ate green leafy things in two ways - as boiled spinach in gloppy slimy wads, and as green salads, mostly full of iceberg lettuce or maybe a shredded cabbage coleslaw.

Collard greens definitely looked like the slimy blobs of spinach I never wanted to eat again, but hey, millions of southern Americans must be on to something, right?

Last year, Joe and I were exploring the Chicago History Museum in Lincoln Park, and just a few blocks away was a soul food restaurant with a yummy emphasis on Creole/Cajun dishes. Oh heck yeah, we were there. 

Epiphany Restaurant is not a fancy place, and the service is notoriously slow. The best way to enjoy the place is to order a bottle of wine when you sit down, and go there on a night when you've been busy all week and have a lot of catching up to do with your partner or friends. You'll be enjoying things in long, slow Cajun courses.

We loved the etouffee, fried oysters, and dirty rice, but the Brazilian-style collard greens were much more than we expected. These weren't clots of gooey greens - these were bright green leaves full of saucy flavor and a zing of orange zest. Healthy, too!  We went home, harvested the last of the summer greens from our garden, and got to work re-creating this dish.


3 slices bacon
2 pounds collard greens (2 to 3 large bunches)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely diced red pepper
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup strong chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Fry the bacon in a large, wide skillet until crisp. Let the bacon drain on paper towels, and then chop it well. Leave the bacon grease in the pan.

Rinse off the collard greens. Remove the largest stems, then gather bunches of the leaves together and roll them up into a bundle. Thinly slice the bundles crosswise, cutting the leaves into very thin strips.

Sliced collard greens

Heat up the bacon grease and add the garlic and red pepper. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just golden and fragrant. Add the greens and toss for about 3 minutes, until they are bright green and softened. Stir in the chicken broth, then sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Serve 4-6.


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