Chili and Honey Chicken Legs with Braised Collards
One of the things that I love about living in the South again is that so much of the comfort food that I grew up with was Southern in origin. Many of the foods that have become comfort foods for me later in life tended to also be from the South, perhaps because I spent so many years up north and abroad, that though I didn’t have Southern parents, nor an accent, I could at least toy with southern roots through food and cooking. Many of these foods, like collards, sweet potatoes and fried chicken I didn’t even really grow up eating.
I recently retested my daughter’s reaction to cabbagey vegetables, to see if those fussy evenings at the start of our relationship were in fact caused by my eating cauliflower, and I believe that I was wrong. She was cool with cabbage in my Nasi Goreng, broccoli rabe with my sausages and cauliflower in my curry, so I figured that collards were safe. I used a recipe that I had been waiting to try from the New York Times Recipes for Health Section and paired them with a chicken recipe from an old copy of Gourmet (sadly they are all old now), which has the smokey depth of barbecue chicken sans the grill and the barbecue sauce. I made it a number of times in Italy, but it works so much better on our Charleston table accompanied by collards and baked sweet potatoes. This is a perfect recipe for a weeknight, easy to prepare and a quick cook in the oven, the collards, of course, take more time to cook, but are also fairly low maintenance.
Braised Collard Green from The New York Times
- 1 large bunch collard greens, about 1 1/2 pounds, stemmed and washed in 2 changes of water
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced very thin across the grain
- 2 to 4 garlic cloves, green shoots removed, sliced thin
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the collard greens. Blanch for four minutes and transfer to the ice water with a slotted spoon or skimmer. Drain, squeeze out extra water and coarsely chop or cut in thin ribbons. Set aside the cooking water.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a wide, lidded skillet or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, and continue to cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the collard greens, and stir together for a few minutes, then add 1 cup of the cooking water and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer, cover partially, and simmer over low heat for one hour, stirring often and adding more cooking water from time to time, so that the greens are always simmering in a small amount of liquid. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot or warm, with a little fresh lemon juice if desired.
Yield: Serves four.
Advance preparation: You can make this dish up to a day ahead and reheat in a little water or broth.
Chili & Honey Chicken Legs from Gourmet Magazine
- 2 tablespoons chili powder (not pure chile powder)
- 1 tablespoon mild honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 whole chicken legs (2 lb), thighs and drumsticks separated
Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Line bottom of a 15- by 10-inch shallow baking pan with foil and set an oiled large metal rack in pan.
Stir together chili powder, honey, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, then add chicken and turn to coat completely.
Transfer chicken to rack, arranging in 1 layer, then bake, turning over once, until cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.
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