Monday, September 16, 2013

Easy Southern Style Bacon Mustard Greens

Little by little I am learning the vast differences between city life and southern life. It seems greens are a staple food here in the south. I can't recall ever having had them in my life until recently. They are one of Logan's favorite foods.

I found myself scratching my head for a moment there, because I tried to make collard greens once and they were very tough, hardly chewable. For this, I went to his mother, a woman who grew up in a vegetable garden. She instructed me on the importance of the prep work involved in cooking mustard greens or collard greens just right. I quickly discovered I prefer mustard greens to collards because they have a spice to them, a flavor I enjoy. From there it was a matter of making the recipe my own. I know enough about cooking to know it's a matter of the palette and combining foods and spices that complement each other. And boy did it work! To quote Logan, "Don't ever tell my mother this, but I think yours are better." Even Regina thought so. She has now appointed me the mustard greens maker. What a compliment! Here is the Super Simple Bacon Mustard Greens Recipe (with nutritional info). Because I am a firm believer that everything is better with bacon.

Serves: 2
Prep: About 1 hr
Cook time: 40 min

1 bundle (6-7 cups leaves) mustard greens (DO NOT buy the chopped pre-packaged bags of mustard or collard greens. Ever.)
10 slices bacon, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 mushrooms, diced

Prep Work:
Prepping your greens is the most important thing to getting them to cook just right. When you don't prep them properly, this is when they become tough and gritty to eat.

Fill your sink with cold water. Place your mustard greens in the sink and begin de-veining them. De-vein each leaf by pulling the leaves off of the center stem. The stem is what causes the toughness when you bite it, so remove it. This is also why I say not to buy the pre-packaged greens. They come chopped, so you have to de-vein each teeny tiny chopped leaf. Discard each stem and store your leaves in a large bowl.

Notice your sink water is most likely now brown and contains a lot of dirt. Drain it and refill it with cold water. Add the leaves back to the sink and agitate consistently for 2-3 minutes. Remove leaves and drain dirty water. Repeat this process until your sink water remains clear. It took me about three washing's. Mustard greens have very curly leaves which cause a lot of dirt to embed in them.

Now on to my award-winning recipe!

Saute bacon, garlic and mushrooms together in a large stock pot; drain any grease from the bacon. Fill pot with 1" of water and bring to a rapid boil. Return bacon to the pot, along with the greens. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. The greens will shrink down considerably.

Serves two as a main dish (Logan loves it all on its own) or four as a side dish with some stuffed pork chops.

I've also included the nutritional info for this recipe. As you can see, it is high in protein and low in calories. A great good-for-you meal!

Let me know in the comments below if you try this recipe. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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