Kil’t Greens! Yes, it’s spelled correctly. But what the hell are kil’t greens anyway you ask? Well, I’m here to tell ya’, it ain’t nothin’ but tasty! Kil’t Greens is a very old Appalachian dish. Traditionally, they were made in the spring with young garden lettuces or greens. It also was a way to “clean out” the garden in the fall. With the constant availability of greens and lettuce, you can make this recipe year round. Basically, it’s a combination of greens, bacon, bacon fat and deliciousness! Truth be told, it’s no more than an excuse to eat bacon jam.
You may possibly need a 12-step program for this stuff! Bacon jam is absolutely incredible! When I first made this, it almost didn’t make it to the garden greens. I couldn’t stop eating it. This is not the best thing for you, but it really is addictive. Versatility is an understatement here. You can put bacon jam on burgers, the best grilled cheese ever, or a BLT to die for. Add this to your cheese platter, and watch it disappear. It keeps well in a sealed jar in the fridge, and you will have a lot left over from this recipe. So enjoy this on other things. When you cook the bacon, you want it to be browned, but not crispy. A few crunchy pieces are o.k. Bacon jam takes a little time to make, and a lot of stirring, but oh man, is it worth it!
How to Murder Your Greens
Kil’t Greens, or killed greens, are wilted. Use greens like spinach, kale, mustard greens or chard. You can use different lettuces, but the greens are sturdier, and more flavorful. This process involves bacon fat, heat and tossing. Tossing the greens must be done quickly, and gently. You want the greens to just start to break down. At that point, pull the greens from the pan, pronto. If you are trying to more health conscious, use olive oil to wilt the greens. All of this is best accomplished in a cast iron pan. If you don’t have cast iron, it will still be fantastic. But, get yourself a cast iron pan.
Kil’t Greens Nirvana
This is a great side dish, or even a main course. Garnish the greens with some sliced red onion, and sliced boiled eggs. The flavor combination is divine. Mild kale, spicy mustard greens mixed with bacon! Serve this with pinto beans and corn bread. People are going to want the bacon jam. In fact, you may have to keep it under lock and key. Make friends with your butcher. You are going to need a lot more bacon. You can just skip the greens if you want. The bacon jam is that damn good!
- 1 Pound Bacon, Good Quality, Diced
- 6 Shallots, Diced
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
- 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons Whole Grain Mustard
- 1/3 Cup Bourbon
- 1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper, Freshly Ground
- 2 Pounds Garden Greens - Mustard, Kale, Chard or Spinach
- Kosher Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Cook the bacon over medium high heat in a large cast iron pan, stirring often. Cook until the bacon has rendered it's fat, but is not crispy. About 10 minutes.
- Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Remove all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan. Reserve the unused fat for the greens.
- Lower the heat to medium-low, and add the shallots. Cook, stirring often for about five minutes or until the shallots are soft.
- Add the brown sugar, and cook stirring frequently until the shallots are caramelized. About 10 minutes.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, bourbon, black pepper, mustard and cayenne pepper. Add the bacon back to the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Cook and stir until this is reduced and thickened into a jam like state. About 30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, and allow it to cool.
- Use immediately, or store in a sealed jar in the fridge. This will keep for up to two weeks. To re-use, bring to room temperature and warm in a pan.
- Wash the greens in a cold water, and remove any large stems. Tear the leaves into bite sized pieces.
- Heat the same cast iron pan over medium high heat, and add the reserved bacon fat. Add the greens and toss in the pan until wilted, a couple minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the greens in individual serving bowls, and garnish with sliced boiled egg and sliced red onion. Put a quarter to a half cup of the bacon jam in the center of of each dish and serve.