Matt's Four-Pepper Collards from 'The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen'


[Photograph: Squire Fox]

The four-pepper collards in Matt and Ted Lee's new cookbook, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, was inspired by the peppery taste of the plant's budding tips. A plethora of greens are stewed with a piquant mix of red jalapeño, poblano, smoked paprika, and a generous grind of pepper. Cooked for the better part of an hour, the greens develop a supple, tender texture with a pleasant undercurrent of heat.

Why I picked this recipe: Long-stewed collards are a Southern classic, and the Lee brothers' fiery use of peppers was an intriguing twist.

What worked: A gentle braise is the perfect way to cook collards to tenderness; the additional peppers were a bonus.

What didn't: I thought the greens could have used a bit more salt and vinegar, but that's an easy table-side remedy.

Suggested tweaks: If you can't find red jalapeños, you can use green ones instead; just add a bit of red bell pepper for color. You can substitute another hearty green, such as curly kale or mustard greens, in place of the collards, or even give the dish a twist by cooking them all together. The recipe yields quite a bit of food, so if you're not cooking for a big party, you might want to cut it in half.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen to give away this week.