Collards in Tomato Sauce

While having a lunchtime snack of bread dipped in some homemade pizza sauce we had on hand, I found myself staring out the window thinking of just how I was going to cook up the collards for dinner. I slowly realized that as great as the tomato sauce tasted on spongy bread, it would probably taste even better on tender stove top cooked collards. After some cookbook and blog searches, I found some recipes for an Ethiopian dish of steamed and boiled collards in a light tomato sauce. While that was inspiring, I didn’t want to cook them in a way that sent the collards to the mushy end of the steamed green spectrum. What I ended up with after some experimenting was a collards dish that was flavorful, aromatic to the max, and maintained some crunch and texture. Quite fond of this one, do give it a try.


10-15 collard leaves and stems (washed and set to dry on dish rack)

1 medium sized onion or 3 leeks, coarsely chopped

1 T dried parsley

1 T dried savory, oregano or basil

1 t red pepper flakes

3/4 C tomato paste or sauce

1/2 C water

1 T bacon fat, olive oil or other cooking agent

salt and pepper to taste

Place a metal colander or steaming tray in a large pot with a lid, add the 1/2 C water to the pot and set in on stove but don’t turn it on yet.

With a sharp knife, cut the stems out each of the collards and set them to one side. Once de-stemmed, stack all of the greens and chop them into 2 inch long pieces. Place them all in the colander, return the lid to the pot and start heating the pot on medium high. Once the water is boiling and the pot begins to steam, allow the collards to cook for 5-7 minutes, then turn off heat, but leave the lid on.

Meanwhile, heat the oil or fat in a large cast iron pan over medium heat. Chop the very ends of the collards stems off and discard. Chop the rest of the stems into 1/4 inch pieces. Once the oil has melted, add the stems and onions to the pan and stir, adding the herbs and salt. Saute, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, until the onions begin to blister and the collard stems turn a darker green color, about 10 minutes.

Add the greens to the saute pan, using a wooden spoon mix to incorporate with the onions. In a small mixing bowl combine the tomato sauce with the steam water from the pot and stir until it is uniform. Once the collards are sizzling and have cooked with the onions for about 5 minutes, add the tomato mixture to the pan and again incorporate. Cook until the liquid begins to simmer and then reduce heat, cooking for 5 more minutes.

If you are not going to serve the greens right away, you can remove the pan from the heat and cover the greens with the steam pot lid, this will keep them warm for some time but won’t overcook them. To reheat, place the pan in a 350 oven for 10 minutes.

| January 16th, 2013 | Posted in Collards, Recipes |

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