It's soup weather, that's for sure.
But Cranky's been clamoring for something green. I think he's going all iron-deficient on me or something.
So we decided to do the next best thing to soup: stewed greens, southern-style, served with their nutritious (and tasty) juices over a bowl of rice.
Greens takes a long time to prepare. There is so much trimming, chopping and washing to do, and crinkly leaves can harbor lots of dirt. Depending on how much foliage you're planning to use — and it doesn't make any sense to use fewer than three bunches — you might be hacking and rinsing for an hour.
Oh, and you have to chop your carrots and turnips and bacon and onion... Lotta prep time.
Then it gets easier (but it doesn't get any shorter). You dump your bounty into a pot with an inch or so of water in the bottom, put the lid on, heat it up and walk away.
Some greens, like collards, take a long time to soften into a silky state. Others, like the chard we used yesterday, are done sooner, but you do not want to yank them off the fire too soon.
A man I used to work with is in a mixed-race marriage. His wife was honored to oblige, he told me, when he asked her if she could cook some greens.
She presented him with an artistic twirl of sparkling, deep emerald-green, al dente leaves on a plate.
That was pretty, but it was wrong.
Greens need to be soupy, and they need to be cooked way past emerald green.
From then on, my friend had his parents over now and then, and they'd cook up vast batches of greens-done-right to store in his freezer.
I wonder why he didn't just learn to make his own. I did.