We love braising. Once you get all of your ingredients in the pot, you can turn the heat down, walk away and finish your primping or TV binging. Because collard greens have big sturdy leaves, they are one of the most perfect vegetables for braising. While they do stand up to longer cooking, they don’t require it. Some friends of ours actually prefer swapping their sandwich bread or tortilla for a collard leaf because of its durability. Plus, collard greens are jam packed with vitamins.
3 pounds collard greens, stems removed and leaves sliced into 2-inch pieces
8 oz bacon
1 medium yellow onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons fennel seeds, slightly crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon harissa
3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
24 ounces amber beer
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup apple cider vinegar
5 sprigs fresh thyme & 2 sprigs fresh rosemary tied together with a long piece of cooking twine
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper
Cut the bacon slices in half and place in the bottom of a large stock pot. Turn heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, until bacon is golden brown and you have about 1 Tablespoon of rendered fat. Add in the onions, garlic, fennel seeds and cumin and cook – over medium heat – until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the harissa and sugar, then pour in the beer, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Add in the chicken stock, apple cider vinegar and collard greens. Season with salt and pepper and stir thoroughly to combine. Return to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer.
Place the thyme-rosemary bouquet in the pot, allowing the end of the twine to drape over the edge of the pot (like a tea bag). This makes it easy to remove the bouquet once collards finish cooking. Place a lid on the pot and braise the greens for at least an hour, or up to 2 hours.
Halfway through cooking, taste the braise and add more salt and pepper if desired. Before serving, remove the thyme-rosemary bundle. Serve collards warm with more harissa or your favorite hot sauce! We also love dipping crusty bread or cornbread in the braising liquid, yum.