Friday, August 29, 2014

My Best Southern Greens on Ham with Balsamic Vinegar

Prepare these greens early in the day and let them simmer on the stove top for at least four hours.  Three bunches of greens will fill my largest dutch oven, to start, and wilt as they cook.  I use good quality bacon ends (or 2 -3 T of bacon grease) to saut√© the garlic.  If more fat is needed, use olive oil.

My best green were cooked on an inch thick slice of Polumbo's peppered, garlic ham.  The better the ham, the tastier the cooked greens.

3 bunches of greens (its easiest to find curly kale)
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
1 inch thick slice of good quality smoked ham, cut in cubes
a small handful of bacon ends, or a few dollops of bacon grease
balsamic vinegar to taste (start with just a splash)
salt to taste
water (or chicken broth) as needed

Cut stem and rib from the center of each green leaf.  Roughly chop leaves into manageable pieces.  Saute garlic in bacon ends/grease.  Add the chopped greens by handfuls.  Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and toss.  Keep tossing the greens for the first five minutes or so minutes while cooking over medium high heat.  Add ham and toss again.

When you feel the greens starting to stick to the bottom of the pot, add about 1/2 cup liquid and toss.  When the greens begin to wilt and no longer stick, reduce heat and cover with lid.  Check every 10 to 15 minutes for first hour and add more liquid if need to keep the greens moist.

When greens are completely wilted (they'll still be chewy), add a splash of balsamic vinegar to taste, reduce heat to a low simmer, and cover.  You probably won't need much, if any more liquid.  Simmer for at least four hours or until the greens are tender (check and stir often).  There should still be a small amount of flavorful cooking liquid left in the pot.

Serve as a meal or side dish, or store in the frig (along with the cooking liquid) until needed.  For a heartier entre, add some cooked beans or black-eyed peas to the greens pot the last 10 minutes before serving.

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