It’s been a rainy couple of days. On Earth Day, we celebrated the bounty of our Mother Earth with our first farmers market on a beautiful sunny morning. Come afternoon, the skies darkened, the rain began to pour, and it is still pouring 48 hours later. Though we have clay soils, notoriously known for flooding, we are grateful for our red clay soils which hold minerals and nutrients while also providing good drainage.
Though the rain keeps coming down, our spring crops still appear to be quite happy especially our leafy greens. One of our favorite spring greens are collard greens, which are readily available most anywhere in the South. This year we are growing an heirloom variety called Champion Collards, which are tender, mildly sweet, and hold onto other flavors quite well.
We looked to one of our new favorite cookbooks, Deep Run Roots, to get some inspiration for a flavorful collard recipe – doing away with notions of collards as being a simple stewed down green. We were drawn to Vivian Howard’s Gingered Collards and adapted the recipe to what we had in the kitchen, which led to the creation of Sweet and Spicy Turmeric Collards. The collards turned our deliciously sweet and spicy with full body flabor, which we paired with a farm-grown salad of radishes and arugula tossed in olive oil with sea salt, some savory canned Lima beans, and a hot bowl of chicken and dumplings to warm us up during this rainy cool spell. We hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!
Sweet and Spicy Turmeric Collards
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons turmeric
1 pound collards (we prefer slicing the whole leaves into strips, but you can remove the stems if you fancy)
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup water
2 teaspoons brown sugar or maple syrup
1/2 cup orange juice
Heat a large cast-iron skilled or saute pan over medium heat. Add butter and oil. Once it begins to foam, add turmeric, and then the collards. Spice up the pan with garlic, salt, and the cayenne pepper. Avoid the urge to shake or stir the pan (this was hard for us, as we are so used to tossing and stirring every few seconds!) so that the collards can sizzle down and become deliciously browned around the edges. Once the collards begin to caramelize, shake the pan and toss the collards to even things out. Spread them out in the pan and let them sit and caramalize for another 5 minutes on medium to low heat. Once the collards have wilted into a rich green color with some brown spots, as the water, brown sugar or maple syrup, and orange juice (it seriously is a game changer). Cook until liquid evaporates, and then serve warm. Enjoy!