When Dr. Marvin Dunn asked Michael if he’d like to learn how to cook up some of the organic collard greens grown in his Roots In The City urban gardens, Chef didn’t hesitate. In fact, he jumped at the chance.
So behind the line yesterday went this former FIU Psychology Department Head (was it too late to warn of the free tattoos?!) After a team effort of washing, trimming, ripping, stirring, and waiting – and checking, stirring some more – the result was delicious.
If you visit the food cart today, parked at the Roots In The City Farmers Market on the corner of one of Dr. Dunn’s plots, you’ll be able to sample the stewed beauties. Below you’ll also find his family recipe, passed down from Mom. We’re still pinching ourselves that he divulged.
Slurping a spoon of pot liquor from this steaming vat of family tradition, cooked in our kitchen no less, was so cool. Even more satisfying was getting to know our neighbor and esteemed community leader a little better. We’re sure he feels the same, having made the acquaintance of Chef Thomas’ beef heart and gnocchi mise en place. (There’s always a next time, Dr. Dunn… We’re ready for seconds!)
Preparing Organically Grown Miami Collards by Marvin Dunn (the way my mama fixed them)One three pound bunch of collards although I suggest using two bunches as they cook down considerably (two bunches should make about 20 servings)strip the stems from the greens as you rinse (or even wash) the greens thoroughlytear the greens into smaller pieces by handplace in large pot three-quarters filled with cold wateruse at least four smoked ham hocks or four turkey wingsadd half stick of butteradd half cup of cooking oilsprinkle liberally with salt (after all, this is an African American dish)add a splash of white vinegarbring to a boil then cook slowly for about 90 minutes or until the greens are soft enough to cut with a forkthe greens will make additional water as they cook down but you should keep the water level just so the water barely covers the greensserve with a side of chopped tomatoes and scallions or onionsserving cornbread with them is a must (Jiffy mix works as well as anything done from scratch)Good eating— Marvin Dunn