Mustard greens vary in color, flavor and texture, but most have the characteristic bite that becomes silky when cooked for long periods at slow temperatures. Don't cook them to mush, however, as is traditional in old Southern recipes.
This recipe makes mustard greens that are fancy enough for company. To please non-vegetarians, you may add diced, cooked andouille sausage to the rice mixture before adding the greens.
Servings: 4 - 6
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small leeks, white and light-green parts only, rinsed well then chopped (1 cup)
- 1/2 cup (uncooked) white rice
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 or 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth (may substitute chicken broth or water)
- About 1 pound mustard greens, washed but not dried then chopped (about 8 cups; the liquid clinging to the greens helps to keep the mixture moist)
- Leaves from 1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped (1 cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Yogurt or lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped leeks and cook for 4 minutes. Add the rice, paprika, garlic and cumin; stir to coat evenly. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the mustard greens and cilantro. The greens may have to be added in batches to fit in the pot; stir with every addition. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the greens are tender, adding more liquid if the mixture begins to stick or seems dry.
Taste the greens, checking for tenderness; if they are not to your liking, cook for 10 minutes. Add the salt; season with pepper to taste.
To serve, top with plain yogurt or a squeeze of fresh lemon, if desired.
Adapted from "Local Flavors," by Deborah Madison (Broadway Books, 2002).
Tested by Cynthia A. Brown.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.