I was the fortunate one to get my mother's recipe book. She collected recipes. A lot of recipes! She was also a very good cook. On my birthday, I always got to make the call on dinner. Since the time I could chew, this is what I requested. Over the years, I've embellished with meat and the addition of a turnip root purée. This contest encouraged me to go back to her book and read countless recipes, many dating back some 60+ years. Torn and tattered pages with the fondest of memories! Of note: I have specified a brand for the pickled pork. This is a common grocery item in most grocery stores along the MS & LA coasts. It is a very unique meat. It can be ordered at www.savoiesfood.com. If a substitute must be made, tasso or diced ham would pass. I would not recommend the use of uncured pork.
Give thanks and pass the greens, please! —Chef Lisa
For the greens
Mixed greens (collards, mustards, turnips, kale, for example)
2 1/2 quarts
SAVOIE'S pickled pork shoulder (see note)
Rendered bacon grease
Large, yellow onion, diced
Peeled and diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Recipe cornbread dumplings (recipe follows)
Turnip roots, peeled ancut into chunks
For the dumplings
1 1/2 cups
Fine-ground white cornmeal
Fresh ground black pepper
Finely chopped chives
pureed turnip roots
In This Recipe
Thoroughly wash the greens and remove stems. Chop the greens into manageable bite-sized pieces, realizing they will greatly reduce in size when cooked. Set aside.
In a large stock pot, cover the pickled pork with 6" of water, about 2 1/2 quarts. Add the bay leaf and turnip roots. Bring this slowly to the boil, then reduce to medium low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the pork from the pot and place on chopping board to cool. Remove the turnip roots and set aside. DO NOT DISCARD THE LIQUID.
Put the pork-turnip stock through a fine sieve. Discard any remnants. Skim any remaining foam and/or fat from the top of the stock. Set aside 1/2 cup of the stock and retain the rest.
In the same or another large stock pot, heat the bacon grease. Add the diced onions and sauté until the onions have softened.
Add the greens to the onions a little at the time and until all fit. Once the greens have wilted enough to fit the pot, pour in the pork stock (minus the 1/2 reserved cup).
Add salt, pepper and sugar, if using, to taste. If greens are not in peak season, a trace amount of sugar will likely be needed. Cover and cook greens on medium-low for 1 1/2 hours.
If additional liquid is needed, add water in 1/2 cup increments.
While the greens are cooking, dice the pork into bite-sized pieces. After 1 1/2 hours, add the diced pork and tomatoes and cook on low while you prepare the dumplings.
Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a bowl and stir to mix.
Purée the turnip roots in a blender. Add this with the chives and egg to the cornmeal mixture. Stir to combine.
Add the melted butter and enough of the reserved pork stock to form a slightly thick dough, similar to a biscuit dough.
Increase the heat of the greens to just below a boil. With two large spoons, form the dumplings by transferring the dough from one spoon to the other.
Drop gently into the greens and pot linker. Do not crowd the dumplings and allow them to poach on a simmer for about 15 -20 minutes.
Serve in a bowl with dumplings on top. Offer pepper vinegar and hot sauce.