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Paneer Wala Sarsoon Ka Saag, or Mustard Greens with Fresh Paneer by Nandita Godbole

Paneer Wala Sarsoon Ka Saag, or Mustard Greens with Fresh Paneer

By  Nandita Godbole | Writer | Roswell, GA

4 cups whole milk

¼ cup white vinegar

2 tablespoons mustard oil or other neutral oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 small jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 lbs. mustard greens, stems and coarse ribs discarded

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 pinch dried fenugreek leaves, crushed

salt to taste

For the Paneer:

In a medium pot over high heat bring milk just to a boil (watch closely that milk doesn’t boil over); remove from heat and add vinegar. The milk will curdle immediately. 

Drain curds through cheesecloth, squeezing as much whey from them as you’re able. (Reserve the whey: It can be used to enrich stocks or for other applications.) Collect the milk solids in a shallow pan or into a bowl. Knead them with your palm until smooth, collect into a mass, cover with plastic and set aside.

To make the greens, roughly chop and blanch the leaves. Drain away excess liquid, puree the blanched leaves in a blender until smooth and set aside.

In a large, high-sided pan, heat oil over medium-low. Add the cumin seeds, jalapeños and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the mustard greens puree to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the puree begins to leave the sides of the pan a little. Add lemon juice and fenugreek leaves; season to taste with salt. Crumble paneer into pieces and add to pan.

Serve hot, with your favorite cornbread, and a knob of sweet butter.

(From Crop Stories No.5)

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Beet Greens Tart by Melissa Rebholz

Beet Greens Tart

By Melissa Rebholz

Serves 6-8

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling pastry

1 teaspoon kosher salt

12 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cubed

1/3 cup cold water

1 egg white

6 ounces fresh cheese, such as ricotta, feta or chèvre, divided

two large eggs, plus one yolk

¾ cup heavy cream

3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked

1 bunch beet greens, blanched

salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt.  Work butter into flour with a pastry cutter or by hand. (You read a lot about pea-sized pieces of butter when you’re making pie crust, but don’t worry about breaking the butter down uniformly, and don’t worry if the pieces aren’t pea-shaped. In fact, you’re looking for lots of layers of flattened butter between sheets of flour. That’s what makes crusts flakey.)

Make a well in the center of the flour and add the water to the well. Hold a fork toward the outside edge of the bowl and spin the bowl toward you while dragging the fork. When flour and water are just combined, and dough is beginning to come together (you can check by squeezing a handful of dough to see that it holds together) turn mixture out onto a clean work surface. Press and shape the dough into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour. 

Preheat oven to 300.

On a clean, floured surface, roll dough out to 1/8- inch thickness. Place dough in pan, and, instead of pressing into place, lift it up and place it down against the side and bottom. (Stretching the dough will cause it to shrink badly during baking). Trim excess dough with a knife or kitchen shears. With a pastry brush, brush a sheer layer of beaten egg over the entirety of the dough, then prick repeatedly with a fork. Bake for 10-15 minutes (but remove the tart crust from the oven before it takes on any color).

While you are par-baking the crust, prepare the tart’s filling. In a medium bowl, combine half of the cheese, the eggs, the cream and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine. 

Increase oven temperature to 350. Pour the mixture into the crust, top with blanched beet greens and the remainder of the cheese. Bake until center is just set, about 45 minutes. 

Serve hot or cold– for breakfast, lunch or dinner. 

(from Crop Stories No.5)

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Winter Green Stem Chow Chow by Greg Collier

Winter Green Stem Chow Chow

By Greg Collier | The Yolk Cafe | Rock Hill, SC

Makes 2 pints

2 cups chopped stems, such as collard, kale, chard, etc.

1 medium sweet onion, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

2 small jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely diced

¼ cup kosher salt

2 cups apple cider vinegar

¼ cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Place chopped stems and vegetables into a large mixing bowl and toss with salt. Transfer salted vegetables to a non-reactive container, and let stand overnight. Rinse vegetables well in cool water and drain.

Combine vinegar, sugar and spices in a small pot over medium-high heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add vegetables to pot and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pack into jars.

Serve over grits and poached eggs. 

(From Corp Stories No.5)

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Pozole Rojo de Puerco by Maricela Vega

Recipe: Pozole Rojo de Puerco

Maricela Vega / Chicomecóatl / Atlanta, Georgia

Pozole is slow food. It’s a leading up to process that is suited perfectly for the kitchen fiend just like my grandmother was and I am. Ma Diega was always awake by 4 a.m. to cook. While she waited for one ingredient, she would hop to another part of the dish. By 6 p.m., the entire patió would fill a smokey, savory smell. Most times no announcement was made when food was ready because, all twenty members of the family would come walking up to the kitchen from the smells.

She prepared pozole for me the minute she knew I would be coming to the village, as its my favorite dish of all time. The ingredients were also always available: we always had maize and chile peppers on hand from our harvest; my aunt Angelina raised livestock so she would select the pork the morning of the big feast. A pig would be sacrificed to welcome us back home since in those days sacrificing an animal was done only for special occasions.

Most summers aunts, uncles, cousins and all tried to meet at my grandmother’s house in Guanajuato for two weeks. Those who returned had left to help build a better life for themselves and family; some were lucky to have left at the time visas and citizenships were being granted without too much hassle in the late 80s and 90s. There were others who couldn’t make it, and would hear about our stories upon our return. We purposely drove so we could bring back a carload of goods for undocumented family members and for nostalgic meals.

“Pozole para la nina,” she would say.

8 dried guajillo peppers, stemmed and seeded

2 teaspoons whole allspice berries 

5 whole cloves

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns

2 teaspoons annatto seed 

10 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons lard

2 pounds pork shoulder

8 cups prepared hominy, either canned or fresh*

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Heat chiles in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and cook, turning once, until toasted, about 5 minutes; transfer to a blender, cover with 8 cups boiling water, and let sit for 20 minutes. 

While the chiles are soaking, add the spices to the Dutch oven and toast until fragrant. Add the spices to the blender along with the garlic, blend until smooth and set sauce aside.

Heat the lard in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. While the pot is heating, season the pork generously with salt. Sear the pork on all sides until deeply browned, 3-5 minutes per side. Add the sauce to the pot, cover, and braise in the oven until tender, 3-4 hours.

Stir in the hominy and vinegar, salt to taste, and let sit for 30 minutes before serving. 

Serve with cilantro, oregano, lime, onions, tortilla, and cabbage if desired.

You can find canned hominy in almost every grocery store, but if you can find a source for whole, dried hominy corn, it’s worth the effort to nixtamalize your own.

(From Crop Stories No.6)

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Country Ham and Watermelon Salad by Mike Moore

Recipe: Ham and Watermelon Salad

By: Mike Moore / Blind Pig Supper Club + Aux Bar / Asheville, North Carolina

Nothing beats a great salad, especially when temps are high, and it’s just too hot to cook. One of my favorite kitchen activities is to clean out the fridge, tossing whatever ingredients we can dig out into a satisfying salad for dinner. Fortunately, we always have cheese, pickles and an assortment of cured porky meats in our fridge, all of which come in handy for this tasty summer treat. 

For the dressing:

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon brown mustard

1 tablespoon honey

½ cup olive oil 

For the salad:

6 ounces country ham, diced

5 cups mixed greens, arugula, or kale 

2 cups fresh herbs (mixture of cilantro, basil, parsley)

2 sweet potatoes, diced and roasted 

1 ½ cups diced fresh watermelon

½ cup diced watermelon pickles

¼ medium red onion, thinly sliced

4 ounces chèvre, crumbled

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and honey, then slowly whisk in the oil. 

In a large skillet over low heat, cook the ham until brown and crispy. Add a little water to the pan while cooking to pull some of the salt out.

Combine the greens, herbs, sweet potatoes, watermelon, watermelon pickles and onions in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, and then toss with the vinaigrette. Garnish with the chèvre and the ham. 

(From Crop Stories No.6)

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Roasted Pork Loin: by Michael and Shyretha Sheats

Roasted Pork Loin

Michael and Shyretha Sheats /  The Plate Sale /  Athens, Georgia

The significance of pork in my ancestral history and the influence of it in black cooking is why you see pork featured on many of my menus. My favorite way to prepare pork right now Is by roasting it. It’s my perspective on a technique that I learned along the way while cooking in Atlanta. The texture of the pork is consistently tender and I enjoy the slow method of cooking it. Sort of reminds me of cooking barbecue. What sets it off, is aging of the pork. That just takes it there. This recipe considers a loin that has not been aged. If you want to enhance the flavor of the pork and are knowledgeable in doing so, then go for it. 

For the Pork Lion:

Start with a whole bone in pork loin, around twenty pounds. A local farm or butchery can provide you with one. I have them remove the H-bone.

Turn your oven on to 350 degrees. Now you want to score and season your loin. Gather a large vessel, cast iron preferably, to render the fat from the skin. Render until browned, about 20 minutes on low heat. Now remove from pan, and place on a tray with a resting rack. Put into oven for 10 minutes. Once your ten minutes has expired, remove from the oven and let rest for ten minutes. Continue this pattern until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Once it reaches the temp, pull from oven and let rest before slicing. You can

finish the pork on a grill if you want some smoke on it. This will serve a party. I mean seriously.

(From Crop Stories No.6)

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Recipe: Liver and Grits By Howard Conyers

Liver and Grits

Howard Conyers / Pitmaster + Scientist / New Orleans, Louisiana

For the liver:

3 tablespoons lard or bacon grease, divided

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 pound hog liver

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the grits:

2 cups stone-ground grits

4 cups water

4 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons butter

Melt lard in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onions to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat with the fat. Stir frequently until deeply caramelized, about 45 minutes, and then remove to a paper towel to drain.

If the liver is fresh from a hog slaughtering, cut in ¼” to ½” slices, otherwise it is already sliced. Season the liver on both sides with salt and pepper and dust generously with the first quarter cup flour.

Add the rest of the lard to the skillet and let it get back hot. Then lay the liver in the grease and allow to cook for about 1 minute on each side. Fry the liver in batches so it doesn’t crowd the pan. Set the liver to the side and make the gravy.

Return the onions to the skillet and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the flour starts to smell toasted and brown. Add water to the pan, ½ cup or more, depending on how thick you like your gravy, and stir well, scraping the bottom of the skillet. Simmer for a few minutes and if need be, add more water to the gravy to get the consistency you desire.

Make your grits with half water, half milk, and some butter and salt stirred in at the end. Serve the liver and onions over the grits with lots of gravy. 

(from Crop Stories no.6)

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Pork in Salsa Verde by Hector Gonzalez

Recipe: Pork in salsa Verde

Hector Gonzalez / Project 658 / Charlotte, North Carolina

For this recipe I like to use a piece of pork that is rich and meaty. Try using a good piece of belly or even shoulder. This is a very traditional recipe that can be made to serve over rice and beans, or with a salad, and makes a good stuffing for a burrito.

For the salsa verde:

3 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed well 

2 white onions, peeled and cut into wedges

1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems 

4 medium serrano chiles or to taste

5 cloves garlic, peeled

3 pounds pork belly, cut into 2-inch chunks 

2 quarts chicken stock

kosher salt 

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook tomatillos and 1 of the onions until soft, about 15 minutes.

Drain and transfer to a blender along with the garlic and cilantro and 1 tablespoon of salt; blend until smooth and set aside.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sear the pork in batches until brown, about 5 minutes per batch. Season each batch of pork with salt while browning. After all the pork has been browned, pour off the majority of the rendered fat and save it for another use. 

Add the second onion to the pot and fry it up in the fat that remains.

Add the salsa verde and and 2 quarts of chicken stock to the pot and let cook slowly, covered, until the meat is tender, about 2 hours.

(From Crop Stories No.6)