Thursday, November 15, 2012

Southern Style Turnip Greens with Salt Pork

Southern style turnip greens, stewed with salt pork, beef base, a bit of sugar and cider vinegar. Serve with cornbread and pickled onions and pass the hot pepper sauces at the table. Southern style turnip greens, stewed with salt pork, beef base, a bit of sugar and cider vinegar. Serve with cornbread and pickled onions and pass the hot pepper sauces at the table.

Southern Style Turnip Greens

Now that fresh, already cleaned and chopped greens are so readily available, I find that despite the fact that The Cajun doesn't like greens, I can still get fresh greens in my diet a little more often. Taking away the cleaning process really helps to speed things up, though you do pay a bit of a premium for the convenience, of course.

It's especially nice when you can catch them on sale too, which happens, because they do have a limited shelf life. Just keep your eyes open! If you happen to find a fresh bunch of turnip greens with the roots, however, you'll want to eat those roots too. Simply peel, cube and rinse them to add in the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

Turnip greens, like mustard greens and kale, tend to be more bitter to my taste-buds than collards, so I prefer using salt pork for seasoning those, which seems to help cut that. You'll generally find salt pork somewhere in the meat case near the bacon, in 12 ounce blocks. I like to split it up into 2 ounce portions for freezing, and I trim away the rind if it's not already a trimmed piece. Salt pork can be used in most places where you might use bacon for seasonings - greens, cabbage, Southern peas, soups and stews, and all sorts of beans - though bacon does add in a smokiness that you won't get from the salt pork.

Most of us Southerners cook our greens pretty much the same way, with some variation in the liquids used, seasonings and time. Some of us like them cooked fairly quickly, some of us like them to slow stew awhile. That'd be my choice. I use 2 quarts of liquid for plenty of pot likker, and once I get them going, I turn them down and let them slow simmer for an hour or more. To me, they just get better as they stew.

I get a little more involved with my collard greens, first stewing down a ham hock, which I think adds tremendous flavor. Collards, along with mustard greens, may also be cooked with this same simple method. Greens can serve as a complete main dish, or as I make them more often, a side dish, alongside most any main dish.

This is the way that I love to serve mine - scooped into a shallow bowl, along with a little pot likker spooned all around and cornbread crumbled right on top.

Add a scoop of pickled onions, a couple dashes of Trappey's hot peppers in vinegar {affil link} and some iron skillet cornbread and I am in heaven.

Here's how to make them.

Recipe: Southern Style Turnip Greens

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 1 hour 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 large bunch of turnip greens or a 1-pound package of prewashed and chopped
  • 2 ounces of salt pork, cubed
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of beef base or bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon of bacon fat or butter
  • Splash of apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Pickled onions, optional
  • Hot pepper vinegar sauce, for the table
  • Hot sauce, for the table

Clean the greens by breaking off large stems. Rinse well in clean water, several times to remove any grit or sand. Chop into small pieces, rinse again and drain well in a colander; set aside. Rinse the salt pork and cube. Add the water, salt pork, salt, sugar, beef base, bacon fat or butter and vinegar to a large pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the greens, return to a boil, reduce to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1-1/2 hours, depending on texture and tenderness desired; stir occasionally. Taste, season with salt and pepper. Serve with cornbread and pass pickled onions, hot pepper vinegar sauce and hot sauce at the table.

Cook's Notes: May also be used for collards and mustard greens, or a mixture of any of the three. Trim any rind off of the salt pork before using. May also substitute streak o' lean (fried salt pork), or smoked ham hocks, hog jowl, ham or smoked turkey wings. Allow the hocks or smoked meats to slow simmer in the water for about an hour, or until the meat breaks away, then proceed with greens.

Turnip Roots: Peel, cube and rinse the roots well. Add to the pot in the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on November 15, 2012
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