Saveur (January 2016)
We were so smitten with Six-Hour Caramelized Onions -- how they made our house smell amazing, how we loved how the slow cooking brought out their amazing sweetness -- that their original purpose was, six hours later, just an afterthought.
We'd originally made them with these Sautéed Collard Greens in mind, thinking it was high time we changed up our collards game. We've been buying collards at the supermarket ever since winter arrived, cooking them about once a week by giving them a quick sauté over high heat. That method works fine, but is also feeling a little plain, as we've been making them that way for the several years now.
In truth, we think these Sautéed Collard Greens succeed because of two elements: the phenomenal caramelized onions, and the right balance of vinegar.
Are these collards really just a vehicle for the caramelized onions? In some ways, yes. And that's totally fine. It's the onions that make this dish, with their wonderful creamy sweetness shining through. But this dish also has just the right amount of vinegar to balance out that sweetness.
The recipe also uses two teaspoons of ground fenugreek seed, which we think you can leave out if you don't already have some on hand. We happen to have fenugreek, though ours is nearly five years old [aka, we need to throw it away], from when we made Tandoori Turkey. The fenugreek has a slightly bitter taste -- we've heard it referred to as having flavors of celery and maple. Our fenugreek is still fragrant, but we couldn't really discern it in the finished dish (although with such sweet onions and a healthy dose of vinegar, that isn't surprising).
Fenugreek aside, these Sautéed Collard Greens with Six-Hour Caramelized Onions are a treat. But first, you've gotta find six hours to do some thinking and get your caramelize on.
Serves 4 to 6
Time: 6 hours, 40 minutes
For the Six-Hour Caramelized Onions (makes 2 1/2 cups)
1⁄2 cup olive oil
6 lb. yellow onions (about 12 large), thinly sliced
For the Collard Greens
1⁄2 cup olive oil
8 cups finely chopped collard greens (about 2 1⁄2 lbs.)
1 1⁄2 cups Six-Hour Caramelized Onions
1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp. ground fenugreek
2 tsp. kosher salt
Make the caramelized onions: In a very large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over low. Add onions and season liberally with kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are darkly caramelized and spreadably soft, about 5 1⁄2 to 6 hours. Scrape the onions in a bowl and let cool.
For the greens: In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low. Add the collard greens and cook, stirring occasionally, until the collards are wilted, about 25 minutes. Stir in the caramelized onions, vinegar, fenugreek, and salt and cook to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, scrape the collards into a bowl, and serve while hot.