Cook the Book

Savory Grits With Slow-Cooked Collard Greens From 'Afro-Vegan'

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[Photograph: Paige Green]

Give me a bowl of creamy grits and I'm a happy woman. Give me that same bowl of grits topped with slow-cooked greens and I'll swoon. So I didn't hesitate to try out Bryant Terry's recipe for savory grits with long-cooked collards in his new cookbook, Afro-Vegan. He based the collard greens component on gomen wat, Ethiopian stewed collards redolent of ginger, garlic, and chiles. These greens are a fine match to his creamy grits, enriched with nutty cashew cream and fragrant vegetable stock. Topped with a drizzle of spicy hot-pepper vinegar, this is a soulful meal that's hard to resist.

Why I picked this recipe: Grits plus Ethiopian gomen wat sounded like a perfect match.

What worked: Despite the minor pain of using two pots to cook the collards, I loved the way the twice-cooked greens took on a supple, silky texture by the end of cooking. The rich cashew cream was a great way to enrich grits sans butter. I'll be adding that trick to my repertoire, even when I'm not cooking a vegan meal.

What didn't: I needed to add extra stock (you can also use water, I presume) to the greens as they simmered. Most of the cup of stock managed to escape from the pot over the course of 45 minutes and I wanted to keep the greens brothy.

Suggested tweaks: You can use any hearty green here in place of (or in conjunction with) the collards. A mix of kale and mustard greens would work great. If you don't want to bother with the cashew cream, you could leave it out of the grits for slightly less creamy final result. Consider whisking in some olive oil at the end of cooking to make up for the lost richness.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Afro-Vegan to give away this week.

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