Even in the winter, we still love going to the Sunday Farmer's Market.
Sure, the crowds are smaller, and the selection is on the slim side compared to other seasons. But we love to go and buy eggs, maybe pick up some meat, and see what winter vegetables are available.
Lately, we've been buying a lot of sweet potatoes. They're in abundance, as are beautiful carrots and turnips.
But the real standouts at the market during winter are the greens.
Some of the lushest, most beautiful winter greens are available, from several kinds of kale to big leafy collards.
We typically use the greens as a side dish at dinner, either roasting them a bit or giving them a quick braise on the stove top. We've been wanting to try making crispy kale (by essentially frying it), but haven't gotten to it.
Our roasted or braised greens have produced mixed results. Sometimes the greens aren't quite as cooked as they should be, because we get impatient or the entree is finished and it's time to eat. After all, winter greens do require a substantial amount of cooking.
This recipe, from Cook's Illustrated, takes the guesswork out of winter greens -- and you won't be sorry you tried it.
Though we were a little hard on Cook's over their fussy omelet recipe, we have to bow down to their success in developing this dish.
Though it's by no means landmark, it's terribly successful. The methods are very straightforward and involve the stages that you would expect: wilt the greens, add liquid, braise and then cook off liquid.
However, the recipe's use of onion and garlic really add flavor to the greens, as does cooking the greens in chicken broth.
The resulting braised greens are wonderfully tender and finished with a nice shock of lemon.
It's almost -- though not quite -- enough to make you wish for winter to stay around a bit longer.
Also, we recommend that you pick up the January/February issue the next time you run into a copy. It includes several variations on this dish that we're dying to try, including Winter Greens with Bacon and Onion (!), Winter Greens with Coconut and Curry (!!), and Winter Greens with Chorizo (!!!).
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
5 medium garlic cloves, mined or pressed (about 5 teaspoons)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds kale or collard greens, ribs removed, leaves chopped into 3-inch pieces and rinsed (about 24 loosely packed cups)
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2-3 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
Ground black pepper
1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes; cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add half of greens and stir until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Add remaining greens, broth, water and 1/4 teaspoon salt; quickly cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occassionally, until greens are tender, 25 to 30 minutes for kale and 35 to 45 minutes for collards.
2. Remove lid adn increase broth heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occassionally, until most of hte liquid has evaporated (bottom of pot will be almost dry and greens will begin to drizzle), 8 to 12 minutes. Remove pot from heat; stir in 2 teaspoons lemon juice and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and remaining teaspoon lemon juice. Serve.