Braised Greens with Ham and Turnips

I’m getting my new CSA Veggie Box this afternoon, so I wanted to use up what little I had left from last week’s bounty.  I still had a bag of mixed greens (kale and other leafy greens) – I was looking forward to eating them, but intimidated to try cooking with them. After all, what does a girl who was raised in the Midwest know about cooking greens?

As usual, I surfed a lot of websites and looked at a lot of recipes before going ahead and doing my thing.  A friend had told me that one key is to finely slice the greens before cooking them.  Braising seemed to be the preferred method (cooking them down in liquid, usually chicken or vegetable broth).  Making sure there was some kind of acid (vinegar or lemon juice) in the cooking liquid was frequently recommended to cut the bitterness. Another seemingly odd suggestion was to cook a turnip with the greens – since I had two baby turnips left also, I gave that a try.  And as long as I was going southern, and had leftover baked ham in my fridge, I decided to include that as well.

I started with about a one-gallon bag of mixed greens, which reduce a great deal when they cook.  Before beginning, I cleaned and dried all of my greens. I chopped the kale first, since this would take longest to cook, then chopped the other ingredients as I went. This made quick work of the recipe.

In a dutch oven, heat over medium-high heat:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

When the olive oil is starting to shimmer, add:

  • Kale, and other firm greens (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

Reduce heat to medium, and cook stirring constantly for about 1 minute, then add:

  • 1/2 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar (preferably unfiltered)
  • 1/2 cup ham, chopped
  • 2 baby turnips, cut into 1/4-inch dice (I think one regular turnip would work fine also, but I’ve not tried this)

Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes to allow the kale to become wilted and somewhat soft.  Add:

  • Remaining leafy greens

Cover the pot again, stirring occasionally, and checking to see if more liquid should be added. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the greens are all tender. Stir in:

  • a few splashes of green Tabasco sauce, if desired.
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