Sunday, June 2, 2013

Operation: Collard Greens

(Wow, this is post #101! Thanks to everyone out there who reads this!)

Dan and I go to a fairly small, fairly young PCA church (that's  Presbyterian Church of America, anyone else out there who wasn't raised in Reformed circles). We're closely connected with what I come to find is a nationally renowned school, Westminster Theological Seminary (our pastor teaches there, many of our members are students, etc). We love our church, it's been a huge blessing in our life and it's awesome to be a part of a young church that is growing and changing.

Due to our connections with Westminster, we have people come to our church from all over the country (world, even...we have a couple people from Korea and Japan). Some folks stay for a season, while they're in school, others stick around. But we all have one thing in common.

We love food.

Our church potlucks are quite the affair. No soggy casseroles or store-bought cookies, no sir. We've got gourmet cooks and they like to show off. We get spiral ham and fresh homemade sushi and French delights.

So  our church decided to host a Real Pit Barbecue this weekend.

Now, if you were to ask this Yankee what a barbecue looks like, I'd answer some burgers and dogs, maybe ribs if you're feeling fancy, thrown on a grill with some good cold salads (pasta and potato and green and fruit...) on the side.

Come to find out, I'm very wrong about that.

A Real Pit Barbecue involves smoking a billion pounds of various cuts of meat for about 24 hours in some enormous contraption that someone rented from Lancaster County. It also involves sides like slaw, beans, and greens.

Not salad greens.

Collard greens.

Cue the scary music.

Does anyone else out there have experience with these things? I'd love to hear your thoughts, because this morning I arose with the sun (seriously, 7:15 on a Sunday?!) and tackled operation: collard greens.

I followed this recipe, which is very highly rated. Gotta start somewhere, right?

I purchased two big bunches of collard greens from my farmer's market (so at least my ingredients were fresh and couldn't be faulted).

And I set to work.

Chopped some onions....

Fried some bacon....

Mmm, bacon.

Looking good so far, right? How can you go wrong with onions fried with bacon?

Chopping collard greens is no simple matter. You have to cut out the stalky thing in the middle, because it's too stiff and won't cook down nice and tender with the rest of it.

Anyways, add some broth and simmer away. I hear "the longer the better," but I had to get these babies to church.

This is about five minutes into the simmer. Fully cooked collard greens are not that fresh and green-looking. 

I'll give you the feedback later on. One of the gals from church was quite enthusiastic about a collard greens contest, and I just can't get behind that. For one thing, I tasted a bite about halfway through the simmering time, and it just wasn't very tasty. Chewy and salty and...just not that delicious.

Oh well. We'll find out if this is normal, or if operation collard greens....bust.