This is probably my favorite recipe in this book. I was so proud of myself for transforming a mundane side dish, braised greens, into a complexly flavored and delicious standout. Inspired by smoor tomatoes and onions — a traditional South African dish eaten as a sauce, relish or side — I caramelize onions, then sauté them with tomato paste. I top slow-braised mustard greens with this mixture and finish it with minced jalapeños and hot-pepper vinegar. Warm, savory and tangy sweet, this dish is everything a side of greens in potlikker should be.
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, divided
- 1 pound mustard greens, stems and leaves chopped separately
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 4 cups vegetable stock, homemade or store-bought
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large yellow onions, sliced into thin rings
- 2 teaspoons raw cane sugar
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
- hot-pepper vinegar, homemade or store-bought, for serving
For the greens:
To prepare the greens, put about 12 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the 1 tablespoon of the salt, then add the greens and their stems and cook uncovered until soft, about 5 minutes. Drain well.
Warm the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the greens and stock, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low, cover and simmer until meltingly tender, about 45 minutes.
For the onions:
Meanwhile, prepare the onions. Warm the oil in a separate large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and sugar, and sauté until deep golden-brown and quite soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and water and cook, stirring often, until the onions are thoroughly coated and hot, about 3 minutes.
Portion the greens along with some of their liquid into small bowls. Top with the onions, sprinkle with the jalapeño and drizzle some hot pepper vinegar on top.
Reprinted with permission from "Afro-Vegan" by Bryant Terry, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography © 2014 by Paige Green.