Smothered Beet, Carrot, and Turnip Greens
Big Jones, Chicago
Use whatever leafy green you have on hand—kohlrabi tops, collard greens, broccoli leaves, and more—to make this straightforward, weeknight-friendly side dish. Spoon over rice or potatoes for a warming, hearty addition to your table. The stems and other scraps from the chopped vegetables can be reserved in a bag in the freezer to make vegetable broth.
6 to 8 servings (about 6 cups)
- 6 cups greens, finely chopped tops (from 1 bunch beets, 1 bunch turnips, and 1 bunch carrots, leaves), stems removed and reserved for vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup leftover fat (such as bacon or chicken fat)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 medium onion), ends and peels reserved for vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Prep the greens: remove the larger woody stems from all the greens; wash the greens thoroughly and reserve stems for the vegetable broth. Drain but do not shake dry, as the extra moisture will help wilt the greens. Chop the greens into 1-inch strips. Chop the carrot tops more finely, into 1/2-inch pieces, being careful to remove the woody stems. Separate the stems and other scraps from the leaves, and reserve for vegetable broth, if desired.
Make the smothered greens: in a 4-quart stainless steel or enamel pot with tight-fitting lid, heat the fat over medium-heat until hot but not smoking (a grain of rice dropped in the oil should sizzle briskly). Add the flour and, using a wooden spoon, stir quickly and constantly to make a roux, continuing until the flour browns to the color of peanut butter, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the onions and garlic and stir into the flour mixture to sweat, stirring constantly until the aroma of onion and garlic with the toasty roux fills the room. Turn off the heat for a moment and slowly add the vegetable broth, stirring constantly until incorporated and the mix starts to look like a brown gravy. Return the heat to medium and bring to a boil, then add as many greens as you can fit in the pot. Add the Worcestershire, salt, and red pepper.
Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes with a wooden spoon to reach the bottom of the pot and turn the cooked greens over the top and raw greens underneath, then punch the whole pot of greens down to make room for more. Add as many greens as will fit into the pot, and repeat until all the greens are in the pot. Add additional stock, a couple of tablespoons at a time as needed, but be patient to give the greens time to wilt and fall back into the gravy.
Once the greens are all wilted and bathing in gravy, cover the pot and continue to cook until the greens are thoroughly cooked and tender, which will take as little as 15 minutes for young, tender greens or up to an hour for larger, sturdier greens. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if desired.
From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.