This popular recipe for collard greens comes from the Minas Gerais region of Brazil, an area explored in 2016 by Anthony Bourdain for his show Parts Unknown. Africans contributed to Minas Gerais’s culinary which is rich in garlic and onion. Iconic Brazilian were actually brought to the country by African slaves.
In Couve a Mineira, thinly sliced collard greens are briefly cooked in garlic and olive oil for a healthy, tasty side dish. These greens are a traditional accompaniment to the classic Brazilian dish feijoada, but they go with almost any meal.
- 2 pounds collard greens (2 to 3 large bunches)
- 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Wash the collard greens well. Remove the largest stems, then gather bunches of the leaves together and roll them up into a bundle. Thinly slice the bundles crosswise, cutting the leaves into very thin strips.
- Finely chop the garlic (or to be really traditional, mash the garlic with the kosher salt with a mortar and pestle).
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron works well) or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and salt, and cook, stirring until the garlic is golden and fragrant.
- Add the greens and sauté 3 or 4 minutes until they are bright green in color and starting to soften.
- Season greens with more salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm.
- Optional: Dice 2-3 slices of bacon into small pieces. Sauté bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside. Continue with step 2. Add the bacon to the cooked greens when they are finished cooking.