Jennifer’s sister has been here for a few weeks, visiting from KC. Before leaving, she requested a “Southern” dinner. Happy to oblige, we had chicken fried, cream corn, fried okra (pictured), collards, blackberry cocktail, and a tea/lemon/basil cocktail. To post the entire meal would be redundant, so I will focus on the collards and the cocktail. Aimee doesn’t eat a lot of vegetables and said beforehand that she would not eat collard greens. I forced her to try one and she ate the remainder…
JW’s “Anyone with a tongue will eat these collards” collards: One bunch collards, stemmed, chopped into one inch squares, and washed; 1/4 lb bacon (lardons); one onion sliced; 2 cloves of garlic minced; 1 smoked hock; 1 qt chicken stock; 2 bottles Southern Pecan beer; 1 – 2 tsp Old Bay.
In a large pot, render bacon until near crispy. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (1 min). Add beer, stock, hock and Old Bay. Simmer for one hour. Remove hock. Add greens. Simmer for 45 minutes. To serve, scoop greens into a small bowl, top with diced hock meat, and add season with hot sauce to taste. (Save the liquid and use as you would for a stock…makes unbelievable base for Udon).
As for the cocktail…Mike Brown dropped off a ton of basil. More than I could even use in a pesto, so I made some basil syrup. To one quart of water, I added 2 cups sugar and 2 cups or so of chopped basil. Bring to a simmer, then let steep for 30 minutes. When cool, blend thoroughly, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer and refrigerate for may uses…such as:
Jenny’s basil-lemon tea
Combine equal parts vodka, brewed tea, and sparkling lemonade. Sweeten to taste with the basil syrup. Serve over ice and ENJOY!