Monday, December 6, 2010

Couve Mineira aka Green Spaghetti

These greens (translation: miner's kale) are traditionally served as a side to feijoada, a rich Brazilian black bean and meat stew (similar to cassoulet), often with orange slices. However, they make a great side-dish for nearly anything. Preparing the greens is laborious, but the rest of the cooking is easy.

2 bunches of collard greens
3 shallots, or 1 small red onion sliced thin
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-4 Tbsp. bacon fat or oil
salt and pepper to taste

Wash the greens thoroughly and remove the mid-ribs by grasping the leaves in one hand and the rib on the other, and ripping it out. Stack the leaves flat, 6-8 leaves at a time, and roll them up very tightly. Using a very sharp knife (or mandoline), slice across the roll of leaves in 1/8" strips to make a very thin 'spaghetti'.

Heat the fat in a large pan with a close-fitting lid. Add the garlic and shallots and stir until it they slightly start to brown. Add the greens and toss in the fat to coat. Add a generous pinch of salt and some black pepper and stir. Put the lid on and let it steam for a couple of minutes until the greens are softened but still bright green (the washing water from the greens helps to steam them). Serve as-is or with orange slices.

NOTE: I adulterate this recipe all the time. I like to add red pepper flakes to the oil and a few dashes of Tobasco at the end. If the greens are particularly bitter, I add a little sugar. They are also good with some lemon juice or vinegar added.

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