Monday, June 22, 2009

Christopher's Leafy Greens

I got the following note from Christopher (who is gorgeous and looks like a rock star) yesterday.

Chris and Olivia at Nick's Wedding
Hi Victoria,

I wanted to write about a recent cooking success.

Olivia and I are doing a farm share this summer, which has been fun though we have had more hearty leafy greens than we know what to do with, which everyone warns about when doing farm shares. So last night, with more collard greens, chard, and kale than we knew what on earth to do with, I decided to make something along the lines of Indian saag. It came out amazingly well - even a bit more interesting than traditional spinach saagwala. It can be used as sauce for chicken, lamb, paneer, tofu, etc.

Christopher Visiting India

I thought your readers might appreciate help with their farm share greens, so I'm passing this along to you. Since I didn't use a recipe, I'm approximating measurements.

Hearty Greens "Saag"

Butter (2 tablespoons) or neutral vegetable oil (2 glugs)
8 cups leafy greens (chard, kale, collard, etc.) stemmed and chopped roughly into pieces about the size of postage stamps
1.5 cups of water or broth
1 large onion, chopped
1 large tomato or a few plum tomatoes diced or a small can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon garam masala or 2 teaspoons of curry powder with some cinnamon and ground cloves added
1/4 teaspoon cayenne - or to taste (Alternatively, use fresh chilies, and add them in the step with garlic and ginger.)
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced thin, slices cut into thirds the long way
4 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar - if greens are very bitter

Heat the butter or oil over medium heat, and add the dry spices. Cook them - BEING CAREFUL NOT TO BURN - in the butter or oil for a minute or two.

Add the chopped onions, and cook until soft, 4 - 5 minutes. Add the minced ginger and sliced garlic, and cook until fragrant, another minute or so. Stir in the diced tomatoes, chopped greens, and the water or broth. Add salt to taste (with a light hand if you have used broth). Bring mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer, and braise for 35 - 45 minutes depending on what type of greens you have used. Taste and add a 1/2 tsp of sugar if the greens are particularly bitter.

Whirl the mixture in a blender until the desired texture is reached. I personally only blend about two-thirds of the mixture to keep the texture more interesting. Add some cream to taste. Return blended mixture to the pan, and simmer for a few more minutes.

Serve over rice, or use as a sauce for chicken, tofu, lamb, etc.


  1. Love that you received a recipe in a note. And a mighty fine one! Not everyone would do that! Congrats on your cooking your way through Zuni - I don't own it yet and ahve been searching for it at Half-Price Books (ya never know).


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