Sautéed greens are a dish that rarely requires a recipe. No matter what green you have on hand, the process is relatively similar: Heat oil or butter, allium of your choice (onions, garlic, and shallots are popular choices), greens, and perhaps some flavorful liquid (stock, white wine, vinegar), salt to taste, and you're good to go. You can go the Southern route with the addition of ham hocks or smoked turkey necks; Italian with some pancetta and red pepper flakes; or Asian with sesame oil and ginger. Greens are one of my favorite sides, and the majority of the space in my crisper drawer is usually taken up by kale, collards, or the nameless (to me, at least) mystery greens that I pick up in Chinatown.
Always looking for a new way to cook up greens, I was intrigued by this Mexican take on traditionally Southern collard greens from Simple Fresh Southern by Matt and Ted Lee. Collard Greens with Poblano Chiles and Chorizo is one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" dishes. I knew that the chorizo would add a porky smokiness to the greens, but what I didn't count on was the slight sourness that was heightened by the addition of a little red wine vinegar. Poblano chiles are relatively mild, but add just enough spice to give these greens a little heat. These greens were part of a memorable meal that included yesterday's Squash Half-Moons with Sesame, Butter, and Salt and some crunchtactular fried chicken courtesy of Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc's Fried Chicken—not bad for a Tuesday night dinner.
- 2 teaspoons peanut or canola oil
- 8 ounces fresh chorizo, casings removed, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces; or 4 ounces cured chorizo, or other smoked sausage, finely diced
- 3 poblano chiles, seeded and sliced into thin 2- to 3-inch strips (about 3 cups)
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
- 1 1/2 pounds collard greens (about 1 bunch), ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced (1 packed quart)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pour the oil into a 12-inch skillet or saute pan and set over high heat, and when it shimmers, add the chorizo. Cook, chopping up the (fresh) sausage with the back of a spoon, until the sausage has rendered most of it's fat, about 2 minutes. Add the poblanos, and continue to cook until they have softened slightly and the chorizo is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
Add the garlic, half the collards, the salt, and 2 tablespoons water to the skillet. Cook, turning the collards with tongs and adding more greens as those in the pan wilt, until all the collards are in the skillet. Continue to cook until the collards have softened and become dark green, about 6 minutes. Add the vinegar and continue to cook the collards, turning them occasionally, until the vinegar has completely evaporated and the pan is dry, about 3 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, if necessary, and divide the collards, poblanos, and chorizo among 4 warm serving plates. Serve immediately.