Growing up, this was just about the only way I would eat my greens. I am more adventurous now, but I still love some good smothered greens. This is an ultra-simple recipe, one my Grandma made frequently, making a quick gravy out of (usually) some rendered bacon fat, a little flour and some onions. It is quintessential Great Depression cooking: making do with the leftovers. Lowly ingredients that are greater than the sum of their parts.
This time I had some leftover duck fat from a spicy smoked duck breast to start the gravy. If you don’t have it, use bacon fat. It’s enough to turn a greens-phobic into a greens lover.
Greens from one bunch of beets, stems removed, washed well and chopped
1 T duck or bacon fat
1 T all purpose flour
1/2 c onion, chopped
1/2 to 1 c water
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the washed and chopped greens in a glass bowl with no extra water and cover with an inverted plate for a lid. Pop into the microwave to steam for one to two minutes.
Heat a medium pan over medium high heat and melt the fat. Sprinkle the flour over the fat and stir regularly until it is a caramel-y brown. It should be just slightly darker than you feel comfortable making it. (This is your roux and a roux always tastes better if it’s a bit darker.)
When it’s dark, add in the onions and stir to soften for five to seven minutes. Then add in the water, starting with a half a cup, increasing as the gravy thickens. You want a gravy, but not a thin one. Add in your greens and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a spoon. Because I swear this is a meal to me. But it also goes exceedingly well with a roast chicken and some mashed potatoes. Go figure.
Playlist included Brooke Fraser’s Something in the Water.