Thursday, January 6, 2011

How to Cook Collard Greens like a Brazilian

I hate collard greens. In fact, if you had told me last year that I was not only going to cook, but I was going to enjoy them too - I would have laughed in your face. Don't get me wrong, I love a good salad, but something about reducing greens down to mush is not appetizing to me.

Out of Your Food Comfort Zone
One of the benefits of not eating any grains is that you are forced to experiment with different sources for carbohydrates. Vegetables become a main player in your diet and not just the sidekick. Eating paleo allows you to discover a whole new world of foods. Maybe it was just me, but I found that when I was eating a high carb diet (mostly whole-grain) I little to no tolerance for vegetables. I just didn't care to eat them. Now, I get giddy over seeing something wildly new to me like bok choy.

Collard greens was a stretch for me too, but I was excited about trying something new. My question was: how in the world do you cook these if you don't want them to turn into mush? Enter Brazilian style collard greens. I found this deliciously simple recipe on Here is the long list of ingredients for the dish:

1 1/4lb collard greens
3 garlic cloves
1 tbs of olive oil

A Delicious Brazilian Secret
Simple, so what's the secret? The secret lies in the method of cutting the leaves. First you trim the center rib from the leaves, then you stack them on top of each other, roll them and slice ever so thinly (a cooking technique called chiffonade). Because you are slicing the leaves so thin this allows them to cook much faster then normal. The cooking part of the dish only takes three minutes, which is ridiculous because other recipes would have you cooking collard greens for around an hour.

My Thoughts on the Recipe
The outcome of this simple Brazilian technique: The best collard greens I've ever had. Granted I haven't had that many versions, but the flavor and texture of this dish was much different than then others I had in the past. Taking out the center rib is another fantastic tip that will make your collard greens taste better. If you remove the rib before you start cooking, you'll have more of the tasty leaf and less of the crunchy flavorless rib.

Props to for this delicious recipe, and if a northern guy can make it, than anyone can. Here is a link to the recipe, and here is a link the video (which is really helpful). Happy cooking!

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