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Recipe: Mess O' Greens with Caramelized Onions

from Robin Schirmer

During greens-heavy early and late weeks of the CSA, you might welcome a dish that can use several varieties at once. The greens from our sweet turnips and radishes are very tender and can be used in conjunction with whatever kale, Asian greens and spinach you still have after other uses. In the fall, we should be able to supply some of your garlic and onions, too.

  • Variety of fresh greens, thick stems removed (spinach, kale, chard, turnip, radish, collards, Asian greens, beet)
  • Onion(s), sliced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Bacon, cut up (opt.) (consider using meatier “cottage” bacon from your favorite farmers’ market pork producer)

I’m purposely not including amounts; just go for it with however much you have. Use lots of greens—they’ll really cook down. Plan to use a large covered skillet or wok. If adding bacon, you might want a second one to cook the bacon (chopped) while you caramelize the onions.

Trim and wash the greens if needed; dry by rolling them up in a clean towel. Cut or tear the greens into large pieces.

To caramelize the onions, heat up some oil in the pan (a couple of Tbsp) over medium heat; avoid scorching it. Add the minced garlic. Add the onions and walk away for a few minutes. Give the onions a stir and leave it alone again for several minutes. Repeat. Cook down the onions until they are nicely browned, about 20-40 minutes.

Set the onions (and cooked bacon) aside. If desired, add some of the bacon drippings to the pan with a little more olive oil over medium heat, and add a thick layer of greens; after a minute or so, lift and stir the greens and add some more. Repeat as necessary until all the greens are added. Cover and cook for a few minutes, checking occasionally. When the greens are cooked down add the onions (and bacon) and heat together for a minute or two. Okay if the greens scorch very slightly; it adds a few crunchy bits and lots of flavor.

NOTE: This recipe can easily be adapted to crockpot cooking.  Carmelize the onions for the first several hours (leave the lid ajar for part of that to move things along), then add the greens a bit at a time, every 10 minutes or so.  If using bacon, cook it separately and add it at the end.

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