This recipe first appeared in New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme's "Pure Magic" cookbook in 1995. It's a hearty vegetarian favorite, chock-full of three types of greens bathed in broth, that serves 8 (but could easily stretch to 12).
Prudhomme, who opened K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen in 1979 in the historic French Quarter, says this is not a demanding recipe. It was born by mixing fresh, sometimes bitter, greens. Some ingredients in this classic can be updated.
"The oil is not a significant flavor," Prudhomme says. "Use olive oil or any oil." Chicken or beef broth can be substituted for a non-vegetarian version. The one ingredient that should not change, Prudhomme says, is the cilantro. "It has its own flavors," he says. "It delivers a part of the dish" and provides a little kick that lingers on the tongue.
Vegetable Magic, a combination of spices and herbs, is available locally in some Safeway and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores; it also can be ordered online at www.kpauls.com or Amazon.com.
Make Ahead: The greens can be cooked, cooled, covered and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance. Reheat in a pot (with any collected juices) on the stove over low heat, covered, until warmed through.
Servings: 8 - 12
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
- 2 medium onion, chopped (2 cups)
- 1 1/2 pounds collard greens, stemmed, washed and torn into 3-to-4-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable seasoning, preferably chef Paul Prudhomme's Vegetable Magic, or more to taste
- 1 bunch (18 ounces) mustard greens, stemmed, washed and torn into 3-to-4-inch pieces
- Leaves from 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1 cup vegetable broth, preferably low-sodium
- 10 ounces spinach, stemmed, washed and torn into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon sugar, or more to taste
Heat a heavy 4-quart pot, preferably cast-iron, over high heat for about 4 minutes (to about 350 degrees, if measuring with an instant-read thermometer).
Add the oil; once it starts to shimmer, add the onions and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn golden.
Add the collard greens and vegetable seasoning; mix to coat evenly. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, using a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot as needed to keep the greens from burning or sticking. Add the mustard greens and cilantro (in batches, as needed); once incorporated, cook for 1 minute, then add 1/2 cup of the broth, stirring to keep the greens from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, during which time the onions will have darkened and the greens will have cooked down. Then add the remaining 1/2 cup of broth.
Scrape the bottom of the pot, then add the spinach (in batches, as needed) and stir to incorporate. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the sugar and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl; or let cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Adapted from Prudhomme's "Pure Magic" (Morrow, 1995).
Tested by Sue Kovach Shuman.
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