There's something magical about the fact that it took this very meal to bring me out of blog hibernation. It's unmistakable, it's extraordinary, it's just exactly right. It's perfect that a truly Southern meal - the truest, the Southernest of meals - has inspired me enough to tell you about it.
Nothing fancy. You've heard it before. But for real. For. Real. So good.
Last weekend at the market, I had a bit of extra cash despite being close to the end of the month, so I went all out, buying whatever I felt like. The first winter carrots from David Heeks, beautiful orange sweet potatoes, daikon radishes, broccoli, a stray head of cabbage, and best of all, four glorious bunches of collard greens. FOUR. This is a lot.
Jamie and I ate some as Marie's famous collard wraps with tahini and sauerkraut. Half of one bunch went into an African peanut and pineapple stew over the weekend. Some turned into a breakfast sautee with garlic and fried eggs. One bunch is still waiting to be eaten (but now I have an idea where it might go...)
But tonight, oh tonight. I finally took a dear friend's advice and decided to cook collards the old Southern way, with meat. But still somewhat averse to the traditional bacon-and-grease method, I took a more subdued approach, using a hearty beef bouillon in large quantity to flavor the stock for the collards along with my favorite spice, smoked paprika. And since I was making collards, I figured I'd make some barbecue baked pinto beans. And then, since I was cooking collards and greens and the oven was already on and I had a box of Jiffy mix, I decided to make some cornbread.
What a perfect array.
I'm so thankful that we're still early into collard season. This is the first of many nights of this exact, perfect dinner. Yes.