If you’re anything like me, you have no idea what you’re cooking for any one of the myriad holidays one might celebrate in the upcoming weeks in such a diverse nation as our own. Unlike you, though, I’m here to help.
Last Christmas, I dazzled even myself with a Southern-style spread featuring bourbon-laced ham with spicy tangerine chutney, buttermilk spoon bread, and collard greens. Dessert? I think it was more ham. I’m not sure I’ll be able to top it this year, but I’ll be damned if I won’t try (same guests equals can't make the same meal twice).
Should you be inspired into action by this menu that I totally want to make again, keep in mind that the 10-minutes-per-pound estimate for heating a spiral ham has been known to be wildly off (at least in the uncategorized time zone that is my kitchen). Build in an extra hour or two. Just tell your guests to drink more eggnog, and under no circumstances should you heed your engineer husband’s advice to “just nuke it, goddamnit.”)
It was well worth the proverbial wait.
Tangerine Chutney (normally, when a recipe calls for segmenting 9 tangerines, I promptly rip it into a million pieces and set fire to them. However, I would segment 9,000 tangerines if it meant I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life. Using a good jalapeño jelly is imperative. Olde Nourse Farm makes a great hot pepper jelly that is perfect for this.)
Braised Collard Greens
2 lbs. collard greens, washed, stemmed, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil or bacon fat
3 garlic cloves, sliced
¼ tsp. hot red pepper flakes
½ cup chicken stock
Boil collards in a large pot of salted water until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water until cool. Squeeze out excess water and set aside.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add oil, garlic, and pepper flakes. Heat one minute until sizzling. Add collards and stir to coat. Add stock, cover, and cook over medium-high heat until collards are tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Source: Bruce Aidells and Nancy Oakes by way of Bon Appétit (except for the collards, which were adapted from The Best Recipe by your favorite food blogger. No, not Orangette. Second favorite?).