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Recipe: Linton Hopkins' brown-butter creamed winter greens

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4D
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 - 11:49 am

Hands on: 40 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

This recipe is the handiwork of the James Beard Award-winning chef of Atlanta's Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch.

Adapted from "The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook" (UGA Press, $24.95, 296 pages)

INGREDIENTS

For the béchamel sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 small bay leaf

6 black peppercorns

For the greens:

6 ounces slab bacon, rind trimmed

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup finely chopped onion

3 1/2 pounds baby winter greens (such as collards, mustard greens or kale), stemmed and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, or to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the béchamel sauce:

Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk. Add the shallot, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.

Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press parchment paper or plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the sauce and set aside.

To make the greens:

Cut the bacon into 1/4-inch slices. Cut the slices into 1/4-inch-wide sticks. (Note: If you can't find slab bacon, use the thickest bacon you can find. End pieces cut into chunks work well.) Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown but not crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain; then pour off the fat from the pot and wipe it clean.

Heat the butter in the pot over medium-low heat until brown and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the greens one handful at a time, letting each handful wilt before adding the next. Stir in the béchamel sauce, cream, garlic, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the greens are tender and coated with sauce, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the bacon and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Per serving, based on 6: 487 calories (65 percent from fat), 19 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fiber, 37 grams fat (18 grams saturated), 93 milligrams cholesterol, 822 milligrams sodium.

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