Soul food is a labor of love. The key ingredients to any dish I create cannot be purchased in the grocery store. Love, joy, kindness and peace are four things my food wouldn’t be complete without. Every bite comes with the goodness of love. There is joy in every step of the process of preparation. I serve with kindness to honor others with the fruits of my labor. The presence of peace permeates the atmosphere, allowing our souls to rest and be fully present in the moment.
Collard greens are a staple to any soul food meal. Many times it can be the lengthiest part of the meal, but also the most satisfying. I remember my cousin spending two days toiling over bunches of greens. The cleaning process is tedious. She cleaned every single leaf individually. The smell of her stock would tease us into thinking we’d be able to indulge at any moment in her labor of love, but it normally wasn’t until the next day we could sit and enjoy the meal which had been teasing us since the day before.
I share with you my love for soul food, collard greens and life.
Collard Greens (with turkey):
4 pounds collard greens (4-6 bunches)
1 red onion
Bell pepper (I prefer green, red and yellow)
2 cloves garlic
3 or 4 turkey necks or smoked turkey
Salt and pepper
Wash each individual leaf removing dirt and residue. Cut the stems from the middle and discard. Take a dozen leaves and roll them, cutting them in ½-inch strips. Chop the onion, bell peppers and garlic. Coat bottom of stock pot with olive oil and sauté. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add turkey meat, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and let it cook. Fresh turkey will take a couple hours to cook. If you use smoked turkey allow it to boil for 20 minutes before adding greens. Once stock is complete, add collard greens to pot. Use a large spoon and cover leaves with liquid. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Allow greens to cook down and transform into a deep green color. Season to taste. Do not allow greens to become soggy. They should be firm and not bitter. Shred turkey meat into greens, stir and serve, spreading love in every bite.