Eat Your (Winter) Greens!

Up until a few short years ago, nothing could have convinced me that greens would ever become something that I loved. I’m not speaking of lettuce or spinach, but winter greens like chard, kale and collards. Then one day I decided to be bold and try some kale that had come in our CSA box and I combined it in a saute with other ingredients I knew I liked. Imagine my surprise when the end result was a savory and satisfying dish that brought out the natural sweetness of the kale. Then I tried it with chard and it worked equally well. “Hmmm, maybe I’m on to something here,” I said to myself. The next time I made some greens this way, I had extra and added them to some pasta with roasted tomatoes and sausage, and hence my Penne with Kale, Sausage and Roasted Tomatoes recipe was born and you can see that post here. Now I’ve come to love them so much I grow two kinds of kale in my garden and it’s one of my favorite side dishes to make while winter greens are in season. Fortunately it’s a nice long season where we live!

This week’s CSA box had some of the most beautiful and colorful mixtures of chard I’ve ever seen…a rainbow! So naturally, I had to make this dish tonight for dinner and it was so good that I thought I’d share it because it deserved a post of its very own. I hope this will inspire you to eat your greens, whether or not you think you like them. I promise you, these are some really good eats!

Winter Greens with Shallots, Currants and Walnuts

1 lb. Chard (Rainbow or swiss) or Kale, (Lacinato, Red Russian or combo of both), washed, stemmed and chopped crosswise into salad-sized pieces
1/2    cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 large)
1/3    cup finely chopped walnuts
1/3    cup currants (you can use regular or golden raisins, but chop them if you do)
2 T.   good quality olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Heat the 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots just begin to caramelize, about 3-5 minutes. Add the currants and stir them for a minute to allow the heat to infuse some moisture, then add the nuts. Cook this mixture for about 1-2 minutes more, then sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Add about 1/2 of the greens, a tiny pinch more salt and another two grinds of black pepper, then stir to incorporate the fruit/nut/shallot mixture with the greens. Allow to cook for another minute or so, until the greens begin to wilt slightly and reduce in size. Add the remaining greens with another tiny pinch of salt and some pepper, then stir to incorporate. Continue cooking the greens, stirring frequently until they are tender and just done, about 5-7 minutes. They will have diminished to about 4-4 1/2 cups of greens. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve alongside your favorite roasted meat or as part of a veggie meal…or just slurp them up by themselves.

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21 thoughts on “Eat Your (Winter) Greens!

  1. Looks yummy, Betsy!

    Have you ever tried the Cracklin’ Collards from the hot bar at Whole Foods? I do believe they’re the best collards I’ve ever had.

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    • I have not tried those, Nancy. I have tried making Whole Food’s recipe for black-eyed pea and collard green soup, though, and it’s amazing…I highly recommend it. I’ll have to look for the Cracklin’ Collards…now that I eat collards!

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      • Black-eyed peas and collards in the same dish sounds wonderful!

        When you go to the Whole Foods on Briarcliff, the Cracklin’ Collards are always on the side of the hot bar closest to the pizza station.

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        • Sorry they didn’t have them. They almost always do, except for when they sell out. They are kind of soupy in appearance, though…but they have an amazing taste.

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        • Well, darn! I was at Whole Foods Sunday afternoon, and all they had was plain collards. Hope they haven’t discontinued the Cracklin’ Collards. I didn’t have time to ask anyone about it, but I’ll find out what’s going on, if they don’t have them next time I’m there.

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          • They do sometimes discontinue things at Whole Foods, and they often have recipes for things like Cracklin’ collards on their web site. I haven’t checked, but that was where I found the black eyed pea and collard soup. That recipe is different and actually better than the soup they serve at the store.

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  2. I love greens and have yet to try one that I didn’t like. Your recipe here sounds really delicious, especially with the addition of walnuts. I can’t wait to give it a try.

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    • I think you’ll really like it, John. As you’ve said before and I agree, with caramelized onions or shallots how can you go wrong? i’ve tried subbing pecans and pine nuts with this, but the walnuts have more depth of flavor in my opinion!

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    • I’ll bet your spinach, pine nuts and raisins are great, Karen, and I’ll have to try that. I started off making this recipe with shallots, pine nuts, and golden raisins and it was really good, then switched to walnuts and currants because I always had them on hand. Greens, nuts and dried fruit are a winning combo in my book!

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  3. Pingback: Winter’s Welcome: Things to Love About the Season | bits and breadcrumbs

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