People, it’s still winter. Can you relate? Even though here in Seattle flowers are nosing up like hands in a classroom and sometimes, if I’m lucky, I don’t have to stumble quite so blindly towards the bathroom at 6:45 am, it’s still uncomfortably cold, windy, and dismally grey. And the produce aisle keeps telling me my entire plate probably started out in Southern California: I’m grateful, but it just doesn’t lead me to feel very inspired, dinner-wise. I’m aching for freshness and dreaming of asparagus.
But meanwhile, as we live the “lion” period of March and await the “lamb,” there is bacon to the rescue.
Sorry, I’m not trying to get hung up on self-promotion, I just really think you should make some bacon.
This type of preparation will work with kale seamlessly, with chard (use less water and less vinegar), with collard greens (which will take more time), with cabbage delightfully, oh, the list of winter greens goes on.
A note–this amount of greens looks like it will be far too much. As long as you have a pot or pan that can accommodate the initial mass, you’re in the clear. They will diminish radically in size and you might not even understand how that was possible.
I rated this as 4 servings, because I love greens dearly, (and bacon) but if you have a lot of other food to go alongside or if you’re not in a vegetable (and bacon)-centric mood, it might serve more like 5 or 6. I’ll let you be the ultimate judge.
Bacon Braised Mustard Greens
A side-dish that stands up for itself. Bacon and bitter greens: a beautiful mix.
- 1 1/2 # mustard greens (about 1 large bunch), stemmed and cut or torn into smallish pieces
- 3 oz. bacon (2-4 slices, depending on size)
- 1 T. apple cider vinegar
- water or stock
- black pepper
- Cook bacon over medium-low heat in a large skillet or dutch-oven until firm and most fat has been rendered.
- Remove and cut into lardons (rectangular slices) when cool.
- If bottom of pan does not have a light coating of bacon grease, add a small amount of additional fat. If bottom of pan has too much grease, drain some (and use for another day!) and then throw all the greens.
- Push around with hands, tongs, or a fork and raise heat to medium-high.
- Replace bacon to pan and allow to wilt until little moisture remains in pan.
- Add vinegar and black pepper and a small splash of water or stock and cover pan, checking every few minutes to stir and make sure that moisture hasn’t all disappeared.
- After 10-12 minutes, check for salt level (if your bacon is very salty, you may not need any additional salt) and vinegar level (add more if you desire).
- Replace water and lid and continue until tender and flavorful (about 5-10 more minutes, depending on heat level and age of mustard greens.
- Allow all liquid to evaporate without the lid before serving.
Number of servings: 4