Home Cooking | March 13, 2013

Creamy Polenta with butter, chicken broth and cheddar jack cheese.

Creamy Polenta with butter, chicken broth and cheddar jack cheese.

Tonight, I was being treated to smoked ribs by my awesome barbecuing son. All I had to do was make the sides. So I went to the refrigerator and pantry and came up with a flavor combination that took me back to my roots. Collard greens were a big part of my upbringing. My father grew them in the winter garden and my mother cooked them. In the South, in the past at least, every mother knew how to cook collards. They appeared at every family reunion and church homecoming, every pot luck and certainly every Thanksgiving table. They freeze easily after cooking and they’re cheap, somewhere around 88 cents a bunch. Not only that but they are full of vitamins A, C, K, Folate, calcium, B complex and many other vitamins and minerals. A cup of collards has 21% of the daily required fiber, 8% of protein and 7.5% of omega-3 fat. The taste is so deep and satisfying, it’s no wonder it was a staple in Southern households all these years.

To prepare, clean them very well under cold water. Cut or strip the stems out and then roll them up like a cigar and slice into half-inch strips with a sharp knife. Heat two or three tablespoons of olive oil in an iron skillet over medium high and stir  the collards in so that they get coated with the oil. Stir constantly so they don’t burn.  Once they are a little shiny with the oil, add some chicken broth or water to the pan, add a half teaspoon of salt, cover and cook on low for about an hour, checking occasionally to add more liquid if needed. Before serving, cut into bite size pieces if you prefer. Serve hot with apple cider vinegar in a cruet for seasoning to each individual taste.

The polenta is cooked in chicken broth and milk, about 70/30. Follow the package directions. I add a couple of tablespoons of butter and some cheese toward the end for a smooth and unctuous finish. Also on the plate are some canned field peas I just heated in a small pot. Tomatoes were left over from our hamburger lunch so they added a nice bit of color. The ribs were delicious and so were the sides.

Home Cooking

Polenta, Collards and Field Peas with Sliced Tomatoes

Smoked rib with sides

Smoked rib with sides


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