Creamy Collard Greens Spread
Source of Recipe
From "Southern Appetizers" by Denise Gee
"Enjoy a different take on spinach dip—one using collard greens, which have a beefier texture that won't wilt as much as spinach (yet have less bite than mustard or turnip greens). They're complemented here by smoky bacon and the earthy, nutty flavor of Gruyère cheese. Serve this spread with crostini, crackers, or sticks of cornbread."
List of Ingredients
◦ 3 slices bacon
◦ 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
◦ 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
◦ 1 pound fresh collard greens, washed, trimmed, coarsely chopped (see Note)
◦ 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
◦ ¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper vinegar or hot sauce (optional)
◦ One 8-ounce package regular or light cream cheese, cubed, softened
◦ ½ cup regular or light sour cream
◦ ¼ cup shredded Gruyère, Emmentaler, or smoked Swiss cheese
◦ 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place paper towels on a plate and set it aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp; drain the bacon on the prepared plate, leaving the drippings in the skillet. Add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the collard greens, garlic, and vinegar (if using); cover and cook the mixture until tender, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the cream cheese, sour cream, Gruyère, and Cajun seasoning to the collard greens mixture, stirring to combine. Crumble the cooked bacon into the mixture, removing any fatty parts of the bacon, if desired. Spread the collards mixture into a 1 ½-quart casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, until thoroughly heated, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
(makes about 3 cups)
Commercially bagged collard greens are pre-washed and trimmed, which is a major time-saver. To use a fresh bundle of greens, clean the leaves by soaking them, sometimes several times, in cool to lukewarm water. Use a wooden spoon to swirl them around to help dislodge any residual grit clinging to them, completely draining and cleaning the sink in between soaks. Once the leaves are clean, fold each one along the thick center rib, tearing away the leaves before discarding the tough stalks. Stack the leaves and coarsely cut them into 1-inch-wide pieces.