I have fallen in love with cooking greens. The beef and the sweet potatoes? Those are kind of easy to be successful with. But greens… There is a window between fibrous and grey mush that you have to hit just right to make them sing. In a nutshell, greens cook really quick, so get everybody else pretty close to done, then fire up the greens pot. ‘Tis the season for beautiful greens at your farmers market, or in your backyard if you are (1) lucky enough to have one and (2) wise enough to sprinkle some seeds in the early summer.
I want to talk for a moment about carrot greens, the unsung hero of the garden. I didn’t think you could eat carrot greens. I’m not sure why. Its just that nobody does and so I assumed I couldn’t. A life lesson. Just because no one does, don’t assume you shouldn’t. Like leave a perfectly lucrative desk job to become a chef. That’s just crazy talk!
We consulted Harold McGee and while you don’t want to make a whole pot of just carrot greens, they add a nice spiciness to this recipe, or quiche or raw in salad. Just be judicious with how much you use… they might be poisonous in trace amounts. But we lived to tell the tale! Click here for the corresponding article.
Roasted Filet of Beef
(You could use any roasted cut of anything you like)
Some grapeseed oil (or vegetable or canola)
1 filet of beef, tied (ask your butcher to do this for you)
generous amounts of kosher salt and pepper
a few cloves of garlic
a quartered shallot
Heat oven to 350º.
On the stovetop, heat an oven-proof pan (I used a cast iron skillet) with enough grapeseed oil to coat the bottom to sizzling hot. Sprinkle your beef liberally with salt and pepper. Add to the hot pan and sear on the outside all the way around. Toss in the the garlic cloves and shallot and put in the oven. Roast until the internal temperature of the beef reaches 140º.
Sweet Potato Cubes
Cube one sweet potato for each person eating dinner. Small cubes, 1/2″ is good. Toss with some oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Put in oven with the meat.
THEN MAKE THE GREENS:
Braised Greens with Apples and Bacon
3 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4″ pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup peeled, diced apple
1 large bunch of greens cleaned, stems removed if tough and chopped (Use kale, collards, beet, chard or a mix to make about 8 cups)
1 cup apple cider
2 T Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
Put the chopped bacon in a large heavy bottomed pot and heat over medium-low. Slowly cook the bacon to render out the fat. When the bacon is crisp, remove it to a paper towel and reserve. Add the onion to the pot and turn up the heat to medium. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally until translucent. Add the apples and stir to coat in the cooking fat. Add the green and toss, then add the cider and vinegar. Cover and cook until the greens are tender. The time will vary based on your greens. The best way to tell if they are done is to taste one. When the greens are tender, remove the cover and turn up the heat. Stir constantly until most of the liquid evaporates. Add back in the reserved bacon and stir to combine.
THEN MAKE THE GRAVY (Optional, but highly recommended)
When the meat is done, remove it to a plate and tent with aluminum foil. Pull the garlic and shallot bits out of the roasting pan. Add some red wine and reduce by half over high heat. Then add some stock, veg, beef, I used chicken, whatever. Let’s say 1 cup. Reduce again until it just starts to get a little syrupy. Toss in a few little bits of butter and shake the pan until the butter melts and the gravy takes on the consistency of… well, gravy. In french this is known as “monté au beurre.” Yes, there is a word for it.
Serve everybody all together and enjoy your harvest season meal.