Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beet Greens (and Other Greens Too)

One reason I wanted to join a CSA this summer (besides the joy of having fresh, local, organic vegetables every week) was to expand my palate. Since I hate to waste anything, it forces me to try things that I would never pick up at the store. One of those things was beet greens.

Now, I am not a fan of beets, but I'm trying to be a sport and find some preparation I can eat, if not enjoy. Last week's beet home fries were an epic fail - neither Jeff or I would eat the final product. We fared better with the beet greens, though, combining them with collards in this delicious recipe. Braised with bacon, onions and cider vinegar, these greens were delicious. We ate the whole batch in one sitting.

So this week, when beets once again appeared at the CSA, I gladly took some, envisioning more delicious greens. I thought I might also throw in my tiny head of radicchio, since I couldn't find another good recipe for it (every one I found assumed I had a denser, more cabbage-like head of radicchio). I had high hopes of delicious results.

Unfortunately, the radicchio was a bad move. I know I don't like the stuff raw, so I wasn't about to throw it in a salad. I assumed that cooking it in this way would mellow the flavor. Boy was I wrong! It added a horrible bitter note to my otherwise lovely greens. I was really sad. Rather than scarfing the whole batch down, the leftovers are now sitting in the fridge. Jeff and I are in a standoff about who has to finish them off.

So try this recipe. Try some beet greens - they're good for you! Even throw in some collards or kale. But please, find some other way to dispose of your radicchio.

Beet Greens
Adapted from Simply Recipes.

1 lb beet greens (collards or kale will work, too!)
1 strip thick-cut bacon, chopped
1/4 c onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 c water
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/6 c cider vinegar

Wash the greens well, then dry them (I recently bought a salad spinner for this - now there's no more grit in my greens, and they don't come out soggy!). Cut off stems. Cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until browned. Add the onions and cook in the bacon fat for 5-7 minutes, until they soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic. Add the water to deglaze the pan. Stir in sugar and red pepper. Bring to a boil.

Add your beet greens and toss gently. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently until tender, about 5-15 minutes (if you're using kale or collards, you may need another 20-25 minutes of cooking to get them tender enough). Stir in vinegar and serve!

1 comment:

  1. You can also use the stems, just slice them thin and put them in 5 or 10 minutes before the leaves. I have a chard recipe similar to this (though it also includes kumquats!)