Papaw’s Greens

Do you ever smell something and a flood of memories hit you so vividly that you just stepback in time? The other day I was taken back over 40 years to a time when life was easy and filled with simplicity. Just one whiff and I was sitting in the kitchen with. Papaw. My grandfather was a very simple man. A farmer by trade. We were blessed to live side by side when I was growing up. I swear in the evenings after school you could always smell their dinner. It smelled something like what we think fine dining smells like today. Bacon grease and greens were in the air every day. We lived in a neighborhood that was full of life. The roads were filled with bikes and kids. This kid never wondered very far at dinner time. I was always in earshot of my grandfather telling me the greens were done. He worked on a farm in our neighborhood and he always collected whatever type of greens that were in season and he cooked a fresh pot every day. My favorite was creasy greens. My grandmother worked in a sewing factory and by the time she got in he had the greens cooked. She then threw together the rest of the meal. I guess that’s why I feel like I have to have something green on my plate every day. One day last week the “something green” was extra special. My husband was driving home from work and he spotted creasy greens for sale at a little country market. I know, I know! Some girls get roses. This man knows the way to my heart. He brought me creasy greens and fresh green beans!!! I’ve told you before, he’s a keeper. Those greens instantly brought back my childhood and so many beautiful memories. As I started to cook them I felt Heaven touchdown. That familiar smell, the same smell that still lingered in their house long after they were gone. The precious memories that flooded my kitchen that evening could never be traded for a dozen roses. As we sat down to our feast, both of us shared sweet memories of creasy greens and childhood. When my husband took the first bite, he said,”Just like Mommy use to make.” Ahhh, does it get any better than that? Well really, they were just like Papaw use to make.😉

I am including my recipe for cooking greens. You can use this recipe for whatever type greens that are in season. This is one of those recipes that I have to keep close to authentic. I have eliminated a lot of the fat and sodium that our parents and grandparents used but I do include a little bacon fat and salt. I still don’t think you can eat much healthier than a pot of greens! Enjoy!

Two large bags of greens ( washed and chopped) – If you are using fresh picked greens, it will take two plastic grocery bags full. How’s that for measuring?

1 large carton of low sodium beef broth

2 slices of bacon (microwave 2 minutes and reserve the drippings for the greens)

black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1/2 to 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings.

If you are using fresh greens, you will need to cut your fresh greens and wash them well before cooking.

Begin layering your greens in a large stock pot along with the beef broth. Dice the bacon into about 4 strips and add it to the greens. As the greens begin to wilt, continue adding the remaining greens to the pot. This process might take 4 or 5 minutes. Then cover the pot and cook the greens on low for 15-20 minutes. After the greens have finished cooking, I stir in 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings. I find if I use a small bit of bacon dripping at the end of my cooking the smokey flavor is more pronounced. I know a lot of you don’t use bacon fat but on occasion I just think some dishes need a bit. You have to consider it in the scope of things. That 1 tablespoon of fat is divided among 12 servings. I consider it worth the fat and calories. You can omit it if you wish.

You can’ t go wrong with a plate full of veggies. Check out those fresh green beans with Yukon gold potatoes added to them. 😍😍 To cut down on carbs, I just added a couple of small Yukon gold potatoes and diced them in with my green beans. They almost melt into the beans. You will have to try that trick if you like new potatoes with your beans. It gives you enough potato flavor without a bunch of added carbs and calories .

Take a piece of simple baked fish and bring it to the next level with 1/4 cup of fat free mozzarella cheese. This is my hack to keep away from tartar sauce. It saves me a lot of fat and calories and I don’t miss the sauce a bit. Just add the cheese after you bake the fish and throw it back in the oven for a couple minutes on broil.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jamie H Ball says:

    Hello Mona!
    I so enjoyed your post today because creasy greens also take me back to my childhood days. I continue to love any greens with vinegar of course! I am so curious to find out the market that your husband found the greens. My granny always picked her own beside a little branch and I loved helping her but I would love to purchase some fresh greens if the market is close by. Thanks so much for sharing such wonderful stories on your blog. I love following your blog and trying the wonderful recipes your post. I miss seeing you at HES! Have a great day!
    Jamie

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    1. Oh Jamie, I miss HES so badly!!!!! I’m so glad you are enjoying the blog. Don’t we wish we could spend one more day in Grandma’s kitchen? Wiley bought the greens at Mountian View Market close to Gate City, VA. I’m not sure where they are getting their greens from. Wiley said they use to sew the seeds when he was a boy. I wish some farmer in the area would get into growing and selling them. We can’t grow anything for the deer on our farm. His uncle did raise a turnip patch one year and the deer didn’t eat them. We canned greens that lasted us all winter. I love turnip greens and mustard greens but creasy greens are the best. Wouldn’t you know they are hard to find? lol. I’ll let you know if they have them again at Mountian View Market. Take Care!

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