Culinary Corner: Adrian Miller
Adrian Miller is a Denver native and the author of Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time. Adrian is a politics junkie, having served as a special assistant to President Clinton as well as the senior policy analyst for Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. He's currently the Executive Director of the Colorado Council of Churches and is a certified barbecue judge. You can catch him speaking around the country on the history of fascinating topics like black chefs in the White House, chicken and waffles, hot sauce, Kool-Aid, pickles and soda pop. Visit him at soulfoodscholar.com.
Dark, leafy greens like collards, kale, mustard and turnip greens have been a staple of African American cuisine for centuries. Aficionados firmly believe that fall is the best time to eat these greens because they taste better (and are sweeter) after being "hit with the first frost." Enjoy my mother's healthy riff on traditional southern greens which swaps out the pork for smoked turkey.
Johnetta Miller's Mixed Greens
Makes 8 servings
2 smoked ham hocks or smoked turkey leg or wings (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 pounds turnip greens
1 1/2 pounds mustard greens
1 tablespoon granulated garlic or 2 minced garlic cloves
1 medium onion, chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch of baking soda
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt
1. Rinse the hocks, leg or wings, place them in a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the meat is tender and the cooking liquid is flavorful, 20 to 30 minutes. Discard the hocks, leg or wings or save to cut up the meat and mix with greens when serving.
2. Meanwhile, remove and discard the tough stems from the greens. Cut or tear the leaves into large, bite-sized pieces. Fill a clean sink or very large bowl with cold water. Add the leaves and gently swish them in the water to remove any dirt or grit. Lift the leaves out of the water and add them to the hot ham stock, stirring gently until they wilt and are submerged.
3. Stir in the onion, pepper flakes, baking soda, sugar, and salt.
4. Simmer until the greens are tender, around 30-45 minutes. Check the seasoning and serve hot.