My friends, the farmers, are all over social media promising the fruits of their spring labors – I start drooling and reaching for my tote bags every time I go online. I couldn’t wait to get to my favorite place in the mountains, Watauga Farmers Market, which opened for the season on May 4th. Over the last few weekends, I’ve gotten my hands on those lovely purple spring onions and the coils of garlic scapes, painted and cooked a lot within the pages of CANVAS & CUISINE: the art of the fresh market.
Watauga will have early (greenhouse) tomatoes this year and the tender leaves of baby greens. Here I come, and will continue to come through October!
After my first visit this year, I created a dish that pulls together some of my favorite farmer’s market finds: tender collard greens and rich pork belly. It makes for a lovely first course or a wonderful side dish…once you’ve chopped up the belly and stir it into the greens. Either way, it’s sure to delight and perhaps motivate you to find a fresh farmer’s market opening near you. If you find a new one in your neighborhood, please share the experience with us! I love posting scrumptious possibilities to my social media @jorjmorgancooking.
Now, please excuse me while I simmer my greens…
Collard Greens with Slow Roasted Pork Belly
serves 6 or more
30 minute cuisine plus slow cooking
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 (1 ½ pound) piece pork belly
3 bunches collard greens, stemmed, rolled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
3 to 4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Mix together the onion, garlic and chili powder with salt and pepper. Season both sides of the pork belly with some of the seasoning. Reserve about a tablespoon for the collards. Heat your slow cooker (or Dutch oven) over medium high heat. Place the pork belly into the cooker and brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the pork and brown on the second side, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the pork belly to a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and cook on low heat (about 275 to 300°) for several hours until the meat falls apart when pulled with a fork.
Place the onion into the bottom of the slow cooker and cook until soft. Add the chopped collard greens and stir. Season with the remaining spices. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock. Set your slow cooker on high and place the lid on to top. If you are using a Dutch oven, place the lid on top and move it into the oven with the pork belly. Continue cooking adding more liquid as needed to produce soft, syrupy greens. Before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar.
Serve the collard greens on a plate with pieces of tender pork belly on the top. Drizzle the juices from the pork belly pan over the top.