a home cook with notions & an appetite
This week, the CSA came with Champion Collard Greens. We’ve been getting into greens a bit more this year (thank you Trader Joe’s Southern Green’s blend). Sometimes you’re just bored with plain spinach. Luckily, I’ve learned that greens don’t have to be a long-cooking affair with some simple prep and I’ve been finding plenty of recipes to back this up. We’ve taken Real Simple’s Spiced Chicken with Collard Green Saute as yet another great example.
The recipe promises that everything will be ready in 20 minutes. I ended up with a longer baking time thanks to the crazy-big boneless, skinless chicken breasts our mega-marts sell (10-12 oz vs. 6 oz breasts). It was still a fast dinner, but the 7 minutes in the oven ended up being 14.
While the chicken breasts were thawing, I took some time out for vegetable prep. Does it sound anymore exciting if I mention that husband took time this week to freshly sharpen the knives? I could pretend that there was added danger with the newly sharpened knives, but the last thing I cut my fingers on was a box grater…which sounds rather sad, but I swear that box grater is really more dangerous for me.
The chicken seasoning and cooking is really a nifty trick. While you preheat a 400 degree oven, the chicken breasts are seasoned with the cumin, cayanne and salt. A quick sear (4 minutes a side) in the skillet over a medium-high heat browns the chicken breasts and sears in the spices, but you’re not stuck trying to cook the chicken breasts all the way through in the pan (something that can easily lead to a tough breast in my experience). Instead, you move the chicken breasts to the oven to finish in a nice dry broil. This was once of the juicier boneless, skinless chicken breasts I’ve had without the benefit of any real sauce in a long time.
While cooking the chicken breasts, I had more than enough time to prep the collard greens (and start cooking the vegetables). To have quick-cooking collard greens, the tough-inner stems need to be cut out. Once this is done, I just roll up the greens like a giant cigar and cut everything ribbon-style (chiffonade, if you’re wanting to sound fancy).
Wondering what to do with the inner stems from your greens? Well, you could compost them or just throw them away. Or you could feed them to a corgi! I tried to get a good pic, but the corgi just wanted to take his collard green stems and dash off to eat…not pose for adorable photos while holding stems in his mouth. He really doesn’t get the whole idea behind creating super-cute photography moments when food is involved.
Vegetables cook in the same pan as the chicken, so they’ll pick up some leftover spice. Once the onions are browned, the greens go in with some salt and pepper and it’s basically 2-3 minutes until you’re done with everything (provided that your chicken is cooked through). This was a fitting use for our CSA bounty.