Sometimes I need to let my southern just hang all out in the open.

I need to give in and let my heritage have its time in the spotlight. My southern belle accent can come and go depending on who {and what} I’m talking about. And my food cravings can range from chicken and dumplings to kale salad with quinoa… from fried okra and tomatoes to avo toast and curry… from biscuits and gravy to clam chowder and sushi. If it’s food, I love it…

Unless it’s miniature party food {lame} or McDonald’s food {the worst} or those tiny cocktail wieners {WHY}.

I guess tiny cocktail wieners can be put in the same category as miniature party food. It all makes sense now.

Anyway – back to my obvious southern bent.

I’m supposed to like collards. It’s what people raised as far south as me should do, yes? But the truth is I could never handle them until recently. Traditionally they are cooked to literal death for hours in a stinky soup of fatback and vinegar overkill.

I’m sorry if my offense to collards offends you. Just stay with me and trust me, loves.

My version of sauteed greens takes less time and maintains the integrity of the leaves so they still have all of their vibrant color and some of the crunch that God gave em’. AND I added red chard for color, pancetta, sweet onion, garlic, crushed red pepper and just a splash of red wine vinegar to brighten it all up. They are fantastic and I hope you’ll add them to your holiday menus or anytime for that matter!

First things first… dice up three 1/4 inch slices of good quality pancetta.

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, cook the pancetta over medium high heat until all of the fat is rendered and it starts to crisp up. Then add 1 diced medium sweet yellow onion and 2 cloves of garlic, minced. Turn the heat down to medium and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 8 minutes, stirring every minute or so. Be sure to not burn the onions and garlic!

While the onions are cooking, strip the leaves from the stems of the collards and red chard. Slice them up thinly.

Mound all of those beautiful greens up in a big ole pile and give it a rough chop. No need to be all precise about it.. just get to chopping.

When the onion is cooked, add the sliced stems and cook for 2 minutes. Then throw all of the greens into the pot and toss them up with tongs to coat with all of that pig fat. {YES, JESUS}

Add 1 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken stock, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste) and 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Give it all a good toss and allow to simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until all of the greens have release their liquid and you’re left with a minuscule amount of greens. I’m serious, people, it’s ridiculous that from an actual mountain of raw greens you are only left with enough to feed your Aunt Polly that eats like a tiny baby bird. Alas, it is indeed worth it.

At the very end, add a splash or two of red wine vinegar, about 2-3 tablespoons. Taste and adjust for salt and vinegar to your liking.

This is one of my most favorite fall side dishes. It’s vibrant yet earthy and I absolutely adore the color it adds to my plate!

I sure do love you all! (especially YOU!)


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