Collard Greens and beets are two of my favorite vegetables. I swore up and down that I hated beets for years and years until I decided to buy some fresh ones at the market and try them out again. Both of these are cheap, and simple to prepare. One bunch of collards is enough to feed a family of four. I bought the bunch (about 5lbs) I used here for $3.50 at the supermarket, but they sell them at farmers markets for as little as $2.00. Beets are a great anytime snack, especially drizzled with olive oil with salt & pepper, or with, my favorite, rich goat cheese. I bought 5lbs of these for $3.00 at the farmers market–that’s 60¢ a pound! I do not recommend buying these in the supermarket, as they are usually exceedingly overpriced. This is how I prepare each of these:
Ingredients: 1 Bunch Collards, 1 Onion, a few cloves garlic, Salt Pork or anything with fat including just fat, bacon fat for instance, or to keep it vegetarian, about half a cup of Olive Oil, Chicken or Vegetable Stock or water, Vinegar, Salt & Pepper
Heat the Oven to 300ºF. Take one bunch of collards and trim the stalks from the leaves, then cut them up into about 2″X2″ pieces or smaller, and set aside. Peel and thinly slice an onion, and peel and mince some fresh garlic. Today we had some chorizo that we needed to use, so that’s what I used for the fatty pork. Cook whatever you have, or just heat the fat or oil, in a dutch oven or any large pot with a tight fitting lid. Once the pork is cooked and all the fat is rendered, you can either remove it and add it back in later, or leave it in the pot. I opt to take it out. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and quickly sauté and then start adding the collards. They won’t all fit in at once, so add as much as will fit, and stir until they cook down, then add some more until they’re all in there. Season with salt and pepper as you go. Add a cup of stock, give it a stir, and put it in the oven for an 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven, stir in a tablespoon or two of vinegar. This will yield a massive quantity. Be careful, it’s hard to stop eating them.
Ingredients: As many beets as you want to make at once, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper
Heat the oven to 425ºF. Take the beets (do not peel), and coat them in olive oil by mixing them around in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, then wrap them up in tin foil, either individually or in groups of two or three, so long as they are completely wrapped up. Place them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Alternatively, place them on your charcoal grill when you have to let the coals burn down. They taste awesome off the grill, and it’s a great way to save yourself the guilt of losing so much charcoal. When they are cool enough to handle, peel, slice and serve.