Monday, August 11, 2008

YUM!

I have been in desperate need of some Liberian food, so I took matters into my own hands. My sister and I decided to prepare a international dinner. My contribution was collard green soup! It wasn't quite spicy enough (I was being considerate of all dinner guests) and it wasn't as good as Mary's....but it was pretty stinkin close! It tasted so good! And, it made me miss Liberia. Everyone loved the collard greens, and my mom told me I have to make them again before I head back to Liberia! There's no recipe, but if I get a request, I can give general instructions.

I was in love!
We also made some Indian food (which goes well with Liberian); we made curry chicken, dahl and samosas.


[Notice my big bowl of rice and collard green soup. I couldn't eat enough! The above picture is my sister's plate. She opted for rice and dahl with collard greens on the side.]

3 comments:

Doug said...

Hi, I worked at Hotel Africa in the late 80's and fell in love with collard greens. Found your blog when searching for Liberian collard greens. Can you post the recipe? I have been putting greens, red pepper, maggi and smoked turkey thighs into my crockpot. Just doesn't taste the same.

Anonymous said...

I there anyway you can post the recipe?

Ashley said...

Ok, like I said, I don't have a recipe, but I can give you general directions.

Clean a bunch collard greens well. Stack leaves and roll like a cigar. Slice into thin strips (julienne). I prefer my strips really thin, and the thinner they are, the quicker they cook. Use a pot, and fill with 1-2 inches of vegetable oil. Sauté at least 1 big onion and alot (5+ cloves) of garlic in the oil. Just let them sweat. Then add the collard greens. I like to use tongs, and just keep tossing the greens so that they're all coated in the oil. Put the lid on, and let them cook down for awhile. Sometimes I have to add water to provide more moisture, but just add it alittle (like 1/3 cup or so) at a time. You don't want so much liquid that it's soupy, just enough so the greens aren't burning.

While the greens cook down, if you want to add meat (I stick to beef, but you could add fish or chicken), then you can prepare the meat. I just buy a package of the pre-cut stew meat, and end up using kitchen scissors to cut the chunks of meat smaller. Put the meat in a bowl and liberally sprinkle black pepper and Italian seasoning and toss. You an also add a few cloves of crushed garlic.

Now, if you want real Liberian spice, you'll want to go with scotch bonnet peppers. Otherwise, when in a bind, I've used habanero peppers. The number of peppers you use will depend on how spicy you want it. It's always better to under spice and then add more later. (Hint: To make the peppers less spicy, take out the seeds! And, make sure you wash your hands well when you're done...and don't rub your eyes or anything!)

Ok, so there's different ways to do this, but put enough oil in a skillet to coat the bottom. I cut the tops off of a pepper or two and put them in the oil (think, infusing the oil with spice). I let the peppers do their thing for a few minutes and then add the meat. Cook the meat until it's almost done and then set aside. Try a piece of meat now to know whether or not you want more spice.

I usually end up cooking my collard greens for a few hours--tossing frequently in the beginning, and then only after having to add water or every 10-15 minutes. Just make sure that there's always oil or water in the pot, otherwise your greens will burn! I don't like my collard greens to still have a crunch, but I also don't like them cooked to death...so a steady medium heat is good. After the greens are softening up, take a taste test....do you want more spice, onion or garlic? Add them now. I usually end up adding more onion and garlic. Then, crush up 2-3 chicken flavored Maggi cubes and add to the greens. These will dissolve. When the greens reach your preferred consistency, add the meat and cook long enough to reheat. You can also simmer the greens if you've got enough liquid.

Serve greens over rice and enjoy alittle taste of Liberia!

Like I said, this is far from a recipe. I just cook by taste, so if you're wanting measurements, sorry! After you make them a few time, you'll find your own favorite methods and tricks, plus you might actually measure your ingredients so that you can make the dish the same next time! I plan on creating true recipes sometime when I've got the time to spend all day in the kitchen with Ma Mary, and I'll post those when that happens. Thanks for checking out my blog, and I hope you're able to make yourself some collard greens!