Chef, cookbook author, and recipe developer Virginia Willis is a big proponent of collard greens and wonders why they haven’t received the celebrity treatment that kale has enjoyed for the last few years. “Down South,” Virginia writes, “we know that collard greens are good and good for you. Georgia Southern and Alabama Blue certainly don’t sound exotic, but these heirloom varieties are the stars of country cooking.” In the rest of the country, collards are often misunderstood and thought to be the food of the poor. In the past, the only way collards were prepared was simmered, sometimes boiled in water, along with strips of bacon, ham hocks, or fatback. This method is still very popular and incredibly delicious, but Virginia has believes it is time to fresh look at this Southern staple.
3 tablespoons canola oil or bacon drippings, divided
1/2 pound chaurice, fresh Mexican chorizo, or hot Italian pork sausage, casings removed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 medium-size sweet onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 celery stalk, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tsp.)
1 quart unsalted chicken stock or reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds collard greens, stems trimmed, large ribs removed, and roughly chopped
8 ounces shredded roasted turkey
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 cups hot cooked rice
How to Make It
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium. Add sausage, and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until sausage crumbles and is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a plate lined with paper towels to drain, reserving drippings in saucepan.
Stir in flour and remaining 2 tablespoons oil with a wooden spoon, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery, and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add stock, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits from bottom of pan. Bring to a boil.
Stir in collard greens and cooked sausage; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender, about 45 minutes. Add shredded turkey, and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper. Spoon stew over hot cooked rice, and serve with hot sauce.