Tag Archives: potlikker

Mustard Greens…And Don’t Toss That Potlikker

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My initial title for this piece was going to be Infernal greens because there was no way something so bitter smelling could turn out so sweet.

I have spent a lifetime avoiding greens. Sometimes my mom would make them, but I can’t remember eating them. It was one of the rare foods that I wasn’t coerced into eating. I think the other one was sauerkraut.

Two years ago I ate dinner at Emeril’s in New Orleans. Believe me, it wasn’t on my dime. I don’t think I can ever afford that.

Our host ordered a couple of appetizers. I remember the sausage presented neatly on a small bed of turnip greens. I decided I would try a bite and was impressed at how delicious they were! They actually had a texture of chewing tobacco without the full-bodied Redman flavor.

I haven’t eaten greens since.

My wife brought home some mustard greens yesterday, so in the spirit of frugality, I decided I would cook them. It took an hour to clean the greens and they smelled horrible. What is the deal with cruciferous vegetables and their stink? I’m told most people eat with their eyes. Not me. I eat with my nose. If my nose gives it thumbs down, it’s not edible.

Once I had everything cleaned and chopped, I began my greens experiment. I had read numerous recipes, but the two that were the most helpful belonged to Emeril’s (I’d like to get a repeat performance of the last ones I ate) and Miz Chef. I’m writing down my recipe so I can share it if it tastes good and to rail against it if it’s like eating a pot of rat poison.

Ingredients:
2-3 pounds mustard greens
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices salt pork, chopped
2 ounces Tasso, chopped
1 onion
1 tablespoon garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
2 teaspoons molasses

Method:
Wash and chop stems out of the greens. Add meat and olive oil to cook and to render fat.

Add onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Add cayenne, black pepper, vinegar and molasses. Mix well to combine.

Begin adding greens. As they wilt, add more until all are in the pot.

Add water until greens are just covered. Partially cover pot with lid and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.

Add salt to taste.

Next time I’m going to cook up a bigger batch to render more broth, or potlikker. It’s better than the greens and they rock.

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Potlikker with the Kingfish

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CC image courtesy of findagrave.com.

My wife is distantly related to Huey P. Long. Something about him being her grandmother’s cousin or something. He was a colorful, yet polarizing figure and will remain a figure in Louisiana history for generations to come.

The Kingfish would be not surprised to see that his populist ideas were still popular, but I believe he would be surprised to see how damaging its implementation is to the country. Long was corrupt and bullied his way up the political ladder. Had he not been assassinated, he may have been a threat to FDR in the 1936 Presidential election.

He paved the state with graft, lining the pockets of his cronies, but he was such a likable figure that it appeared nobody really cared about his misdeeds.

Long would be surprised how damaging his wealth redistribution ideas are to the country. On the surface it may appear that wealth redistribution is favorable. In reality, we can see that unemployment is problematic and stealing from the rich to give to the poor solves nothing. We are left with a generation with an entitlement complex who thinks hard work is old fashioned and being on the government dole is something to embrace.

If he didn’t stand on his Share Our Wealth program, he may not have even made it to the Governor’s office. Demagoguery proved useful to Long as it does today, but despite his flaws, he still was an affable man who I’d like to share a meal of potlikker with.

Written in response to the Daily Post’s daily prompt.