I could just feel the disappointment as the words came out.
"What's for dinner?"
In hindsight, I might have approached it a little differently. Perhaps a better sales pitch like one might sell broccoli to a kid. But I went for it straightforward.
"Collards. Quinoa. White Beans."
"Oh. Do we have any bread?" (Code for, "I'd like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead.")
"No really. It's good. You'll like it. I put bacon in it."
In fairness, John eats almost everything I make. Except for the rare occasion when I am a little too heavy handed with the spices and he opts out for medical reasons. The winning recipes are met with rave reviews. The not so good are usually met with silence and "Good, just not my favorite".
I honestly wasn't sure about the collards either. Collards never made an appearance at our dinner table growing up. I don't know if they didn't exist in New England or whether my mother just didn't like them. Truthfully, I never even really heard of them until I made the move "down south". And even then, I never actively sought them out.
When I signed up for our inaugural CSA box last week, I had a suspicion collards would make an appearance at some point. I didn't count on them showing up the very first week. I scrambled to figure out how to prepare them, knowing utter failure would cast a bad spell over the CSA which I truly wanted to avoid.
I used this recipe from epicurious as inspiration. Quinoa and bacon make everything better. And the white beans, well, a little extra fiber never hurt anyone. I had zero collards experience prior to this recipe, so tough to make any comparisons to the real thing, but the end result had an earthy sweetness that I loved.
Collards, (Bacon), White Beans and Quinoa
6 slices maple bacon
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 and 1/4 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 large bunch of collards (rinsed, stemmed and chopped coarsely)
1 can northern white beans (rinsed, drained)
1 cup quinoa (rinsed until drains clear)
2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
In a large skillet, cook bacon just until crispy. Remove from skillet, drain on paper towels. Crumble after cool and set aside.
Add diced onion to the bacon grease in the original skillet. Saute for several minutes on medium low heat until onions are soft and translucent. Add broth, vinegar and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves.
Add collards to the broth and onion mixture in the skillet and stir until leaves are slightly wilted. Add bacon. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in white beans, cover and simmer for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate pot, boil 2 cups chicken broth. Add rinsed quinoa, stir and cover. Simmer for 20 - 25 minutes until broth has been absorbed and quinoa is tender. Stir with a fork.
Spoon cooked quinoa into individual serving bowls. Add collard mixture on top. (or just mix it all together, if you prefer!)
I'll refrain from calling this healthy due to the bacon, however, it has tons of fiber and protein and as an added bonus, helped us to support our local farmers.
(In case you are wondering, John ate it, minus the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And that's what I call a (minor) success.)