Kitchen Tip: How to Braise Greens

August 20, 2012 in Categories: , by

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One of our staple side dishes is braised leafy greens.  This is a simple, quick, versatile and delicious way to prepare greens.  You can use this cooking method for just about any green leaf you can find.  My favorites are all varieties of kale, cabbage, beet greens, kohlrabi greens, turnip greens, sweet potato greens, all varieties of chard, mustard greens, collard greens, and spinach.  I give larger leaves a rough chop and leave in the stems unless they are really tough.

Braising simply means that it’s cooked in both fat and liquid.  The fats I like to use are tallow(beef or lamb), bacon fat (my favorite pastured bacon is from US Wellness Meats), and coconut oil (extra virgin or refined).  You could also use lard, duck fat, or butter.  My favorite liquid to use is bone broth (usually chicken, but sometimes beef).  Other liquids that work well are water, lemon juice (usually diluted), white wine, and coconut milk.  I like to add a sprinkle of salt to sweeter leaves like spinach or sweet potato greens, but leave out the salt completely for more bitter greens (or if I’m using bacon fat as my fat).

As a general rule of thumb, I use about 2 Tbsp of fat and about ¼ cup of liquid in my large frying pan for a bunch of greens (less for really tender greens like spinach and more for tougher greens like cabbage).  Heat the fat in the pan over medium-high heat.  Add in the greens and the liquid (a more tender green cooks faster and needs less liquid whereas a tougher green takes more time and may need more liquid).  Stir relatively frequently, but you don’t need to go nuts.  If the liquid all evaporates before the greens are fully cooked, add a little bit more. A tender green like spinach cooks in just a few minutes.  Something like cabbage may take 15 minutes, depending on how finely chopped it is.  Most greens take 6-8 minutes. Ideally you would serve just as the liquid is fully evaporated.  


LOL! I can’t remember if I still lived in Canada when I learned about braising greens or if I had already moved to the States. Growing up, we usually had vegetables either steamed or sauteed. It’s a great technique for bitter greens though, whatever its origins! 🙂

I used this method last night for my rainbow chard. Not bad for a first try, though I added a little too much liquid. I underestimated how much the greens would give off. Oh well, next time they will be perfect. 😉 Thanks for sharing this recipe!

I’m really enjoying your recipes, but I wish paleo people would stop acting like they invented stock and calling it “bone broth” like a bunch of ghouls.

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