Boiled Dinner and Collard Greens

February 16, 2010

Tonight tasted like Newfoundland.

Growing up, Momma used to make Roast Dinner on Sundays.  And often we’d have greens on the table with turkey dinner (or any other dinner) when we had fresh greens in the house from the farm.

The farm.

My grandfather was a veggie farmer.  And we’d have fresh veggies from the farm – his farm – almost every month.  Yes – I was raised on good food.  Poppy – for that was what we called him – grew carrots, cabbage, potatoes, greens, and other veggies that I can’t remember right now.  Nanny grew strawberries and other berries.  Before I was born, they also had hundreds of chickens and sold the eggs from those chickens.  Momma remembers plucking the eggs from the coops (ask her about her father’s decision to have free-range chickens!).  They also at some point had cows, horses, and pigs!

I remember going to the farm during the summertime and hanging out in the dry grass.  I would weave the grass together and make tunnels in the field.  I would hang out in those field grass tunnels for hours!  The sun and the birds flirting with my reveries.  And after playing hard all day, I would return to the house and Nanny would have cooked dinner – beef, carrots, potatoes, greens.  Maybe some toutons and bread pudding.  She always had dark cake and cherry cake in the freezer and cookies on the counter.

Fast forward to tonight…

I just got a cast iron dutch oven for my birthday.  So tonight I brazenly threw a bunch of stuff in there (after browning the meat), added water, and let it do its thing for a couple hours!   Also, my friend Brian and I just recently acquired a plot at an urban garden and before we turned over the soil for our own purposes, we harvested the plants that were there.  I looked online and discovered that what we’d harvested was collard greens and kohlrabi greens!  Yay!  So while the boiled dinner was slow cookin’, I took the collard greens and threw them in a pot with some water and other stuff and forty-five minutes later, we had dinner!

Ryan was working so I took my little meal to my desk and took a bite.  It tasted like roast dinner!  Like Momma used to make!  And the greens tasted just like I remember!  I was immediately transfered, in my mind, to my youth and my mother’s kitchen in St. John’s and my nanny’s kitchen ’round the bay and the grass tunnels in the sun.   It tasted like Newfoundland.  It tasted like home.

Ryan asked what it was called.  I replied, “It’s called dinner.”  I wasn’t trying to be a smart-ass.  I honestly had no idea what to call it!  I guess it’s something akin to a Newfoundland boiled dinner or Jiggs Dinner?  It’s not exactly the same; but similar.

So here’s the recipe:

Boiled Dinner (for two)

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 lb grass-fed flap meat (or skirt steak), chopped into 1″ squares
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • chili pepper seeds
  • black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chilean pebre

Add coconut oil to cast iron dutch oven on medium heat.  Add meat and brown slightly.  Meat will brown quickly because it’s thin.  Add onions and saute slightly.  Once onions are slightly soft, add water.  Once the water is boiling, add chopped carrots and celery and spices.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer two hours.

Serve onto plate or shallow bowl with slotted spoon.  Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Boiled Collard Greens – A Simple Recipe (for two)

  • 4 cups washed collard green leaves (stalks removed)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups water

Put all four ingredients in large soup pot on high.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve onto plates with a slotted spoon.  Serve with white vinegar and mustard.

Ryan likes carbs so I served his with leftover rice mixed with raw butter and creme fraiche.