Maple Bacon Braised Greens, a solid veggie side for the holiday table

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This is an easy recipe that gets its flavor from a couple of choice ingredients and a cooking technique called braising. Braising refers to cooking something, usually meat, using two techniques: dry heat, like frying or sauteing, and wet heat, which happens when you add liquid to the pan or pot and let the ingredients cook down even more.

In this case, I sauteed some bacon, onion and garlic in a skillet, using the bacon grease to fry the aromatics, then added greens. I used Swiss chard, because a bunch of rainbow chard with colorful stems called to me from the produce aisle while I was shopping. You could use kale, collards, even spinach, though spinach requires a lot less time to cook down.

Before the greens go in the pan, maple syrup helps to slightly candy the bacon and onion. Then I hit it with some apple cider vinegar — tang to balance out the sweetness — and a little bit of water, to provide the liquid the greens need to braise.

Read more here.

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Maple Bacon Braised Greens

1 bunch Swiss chard, about 5 or 6 stalks (can also use collard greens, kale or spinach)

2 slices thick-cut bacon, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ small onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Salt

Pepper

¼ cup water

½ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon dried parsley, or Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cut the leaves off the stems of the Swiss chard, then roughly chop greens into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Dice the Swiss chard stems, then place in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring so it doesn’t stick to the pan at first, for about 7 minutes or until browned and crispy. Transfer cooked bacon to a plate and reserve. Keep the grease in the skillet and return to burner.

Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic and onion and stir. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes until onion is pretty soft, and translucent. Add bacon back to skillet and stir to combine.

Add maple syrup and apple cider vinegar and cook for 1 minute. The bacon and aromatics should get slightly caramelized. Season with salt and pepper, stir, then add Swiss chard greens.

Stir gently to combine ingredients, then add water and let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Greens will wilt and cook down significantly.

To the bowl with the Swiss chard stems, add white wine and red wine vinegars, plus sugar, dried parsley, red pepper flakes and a large pinch of salt. Let sit for at least 20 minutes, or overnight (or longer) in the fridge.

Remove greens from skillet to serving dish, then scatter pickled stems on top.

Serves 2 to 4.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times