Makin’ Southern-Style Greens the Mission Way

Recently, a couple of co-workers and I were endowed with a fair amount of fresh collard greens that we needed to cook. Since we work at an historic site as living historians, more precisely as cooks, we have certain guidelines to follow as to what we cook and how we cook them. Since two of the three of us (Helena and I) had never cooked collards or mustard greens before, we looked to our dear third (Tami.) (As an aside, together we are known as “Corn, Beans, and Squash.”)

Beans, Squash, Corn

A small throng of colonial kitchen witches: Beans, Squash, and Corn.

We started by boiling some frozen leftover ham-on-the-bone for about an hour. We chopped up the greens and put them in the refrigerator. We also added in some carrot greens for good measure. In the meantime, Helena chopped onions and garlic (both from our historic gardens.)

I sautéed the onion and garlic in olive oil with a heavy dash of dry creole seasoning.  (I can’t think of the brand, but will add it to the post as soon as I remember.)  The close of the business day came, so we put all of our fixin’s in the fridge until the next morning.

The next day, I set the pot-o-ham and water on the stove to boil again.  When it came to temperature, I added the greens and let them rumble on a hard boil for about 20 minutes.  Well, I INTENDED on leaving them on a rolling boil for 20 minutes, but a meddling co-worker not included in our throng decided to turn down the stove to a low boil without saying anything to me…SO…it boiled for an undetermined amount of time.  I reduced the temperature to medium-low and added the onion-garlic-oil mixture and added another healthy dash of creole seasoning.  (You like my measuring units?  I’m just being historically accurate.)

I let it simmer for another 5 hours, while we all took turns checking on it and stirring it…and mopping up the drool from salivating passersby.

For those of you not fortunate enough to be Southern, let me tell you about greens.  There are different kinds, two of the main being collard and mustard.  Greens are nothing to be rushed.  They must slow cook.  The traditional way to make them is to get a big pot of water, toss in a ham hock, and boil this with the chopped greens for about 15-20 minutes, then simmer until ready.  That’s it.  Well, tradition often falls by the wayside with us (ironically, since we teach historical cooking,) so we decided to add the carrot greens and sautéed onions and garlic.  Tami told her (VERY Southern) friend Mr. Clark our recipe and he thought we were all crazy.  How could we mess with tradition like that?!  Well, clearly, we’re a bunch of rambunctious rebels.  Since we changed (gasp!) the traditional way of making collard greens, I call our gastronomical acheivement: Collard Greens, Mission-Style.  They were a complete hit with the interpretive staff, btw, so HA!  😉

Being that it was Beans’ birthday, Corn and I put together a full menu for all to celebrate.  All three of us were featured.  Below is the end result…an historically quasi-accurate menu that was oh-so-fabulous!  Good work, ladies!  We make an amazing team!

Corn, beans, squash, and greens.

Corn, beans, squash, and greens (Mission-style.)

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One Response to “Makin’ Southern-Style Greens the Mission Way”

  1. Helena Sadvary Says:

    nom nom nom!

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