By Lydia Derrick Wherry
Brazil visited Edgefield in January and with it came a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Rosie Bouali, a dear friend from Brazil, by way of Costa Rica, arrived with the promise of a Brazilian feast she was to prepare for our family and another mutual friend visiting from Lexington, SC.
Rosie and I met many years ago during a chapter in which my family lived in Costa Rica. Upon their arrival to Edgefield, the pace and priorities of our life in Costa Rica returned. There was time for laughter, for hours around a dinner table, time for meal preparation as the focus of the day. We feasted upon Feijoada (a Brazilian black bean and meat dish), rice, okra and collard greens amid the backdrop of stories of our children forming themselves in a jungle; a wild wonderland of beach breezes, howling monkeys, squawking birds and deep, black mud.
Who knew that our southern-most foods are also a staple in parts of South America? As in Costa Rica, our shopping took us to several places in Edgefield to gather ingredients; the butcher, the vegetable stand and the grocer for staples. The short ribs had to be cut just so for the Feijoada. The collard greens had to beslightly “perky.”
I prefaced the meal claiming southern rights and privileges to the best collard greens on earth. I told of dinners in which wedouse them with hot pepper and shots of their pot liquor reserved for toasts at Thanksgiving. Then, I took a bite of Rosie’s Collards. The warm, buttery feel and taste quieted my tongue. They were, simply, the best collard greens I have ever tasted in my entire life.
Herein lies the recipe:
1 bunch of tall, perky collards greens
1 slice of pork jowl chopped into tiny pieces
2 T olive oil
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Remove the stems, leaving the leaf in long strips. Do not tear or chop the leaves. Toss the stems. Fill bottom of large pot with ½ in. water. Place strips in pot and steam for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in saute pan. Saute pork jowl, onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Remove greens from the pot and chop immediately into 1 in. pieces. Add to saute pan and toss. Voila, the best greens on earth.
Maybe this is simple. Maybe it was something about the time we took to make music, to laugh, to celebrate this life together as friends, but my New Year collards are now Rosie’s Collards. Enjoy!