Collard greens are one of those foods I kind of pity sometimes. Like a lot of other green, leafy vegetables (Kale! Swiss chard! Dandelion greens! Beet greens!), it’s not a staple in American meals.
I mean, I can’t speak for you or your household, but we didn’t eat it growing up — ever. When we had vegetables, they were more classic choices like green beans or broccoli or carrots, and while those were all good things, eating only them meant overlooking an entire wall of the grocery’s produce section — one which remained unknown to me for years.
Then I grew up. And, in the same way that adulthood exposes us to all kinds of things we missed out on as children, from bills to alcohol to taxes — I went to an office Christmas party or baby shower or some other event where we all made something, and the downstairs receptionist saw my homemade cornbread and asked what she thought was a totally appropriate question: Well, where are the collard greens?
This introduced me to two new concepts:
1) Collard greens go with cornbread?
2) People think collard greens can taste good?
Then, just a few months ago, I saw a recipe for creamed collard greens described as comfort food, the kind of thing to “soothe a worn soul.” The post also got my attention with some of the health benefits of these greens: anti-cancer agents, decreased risk of heart disease, high in beta carotene, anti-inflammatory.
So right here in my new Nashville, we bought a bunch of collard greens, and after spending about 20 minutes in the kitchen, ate big bowls of this, alongside garlic toast and with gingersnaps in the oven. Turns out this wasn’t only fitting because it was days after my move and I was in need of some comfort, but also — it was the perfect way to introduce myself to collard greens, and in the perfect place, since it seems here in the South, people don’t find them so strange after all.
Creamed Collard Greens
Taken from one of my favorite blogs, Nourished Kitchen
2 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
2 bunches collard greens, stems removed, trimmed and chopped
1 cup heavy cream — not ultrapasteurized & organic is better
ground nutmeg, to taste
unrefined sea salt, to taste
Melt butter in a skillet over moderate heat until it gets frothy. Add sliced onions until they’re caramelized around the edges.
Add chopped collard greens, stirring until slightly wilted, about two minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the one cup of heavy cream.
Simmer for about five to six minutes, until the cream is largely reduced. Season with freshly grated nutmeg and unrefined sea salt as you like!
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.