We are seeing glimpses of Spring in the High Country, but at dinner time, it is still winter. I'd love to be cooking artichokes and asparagus and grilling every night, but those days seem a ways away. Instead, last weekend I served my sister and her husband Thomas Keller's brined pork tenderloin (abysmal failure to be the subject of a separate post). He recommended winter greens as a side dish. I adapted this Epicurious recipe and paired it with my Smoked Gouda grits. The meal was saved by my rocking sides!
As with many Epicurious recipes, the amount of fat included was a little over the top. Do you really need 3/4 stick of butter, 2 cups of whole milk, a half cup of heavy cream and copious amount of pork fat to make greens taste good? I added big flavor and texture with lardons made from the last of my homemade bacon and cut about a third of the other fat. As my brother-in-law said, anyone can make a pork tenderloin taste good but making a winter greens dish that everyone loves is considerably tougher.
Creamy Winter Greens with Lardons
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons shallot,minced
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 3 1/2 pounds mixed winter greens such as collards, turnip greens, and kale
- 6 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut crosswise into 1-inch squares
- 1 cup onion,finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar