JJ Johnson’s Braised Collard Greens Take Only 45 Minutes

Call your grandma and tell her there’s no need for 4-hour stews.

November 22, 2020
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To get stewed, or braised, collard greens to that beloved tenderness, many swear by putting it on the stove for several hours. After all, it takes time to soften the hardy leaves of the fan-like vegetable, and infuse them with meaty, fiery flavor. It might be what your grandmother always does – and the aroma of the simmering pot is the happy, familiar sign that dinner is going to be good tonight.

However, despite any childhood memories – or what any of your grandmas or aunties may say – JJ Johnson wants to change the way you think about this comfort food. “Don’t go and cook your greens for four hours.” Instead, “You’re gonna cook your greens for no more than 45 minutes.”

All the takes on collard greens JJ tasted throughout his childhood were “all stewed for a long period of time. I don’t know where that came from. I don’t know why we stewed them for so long. The collard green has so much nutrition and value and vitamins in it – that’s the reason why I don’t want you to cook them for so long.”

In fact, in his Coconut Milk Braised Collard Greens class, JJ proves you can make creamy, flavorful greens in just 20 minutes. While shallots and garlic cook in the pot, JJ rolls the greens and slices them into 1- to 2-inch thick ribbons. And, he insists: Leave your stems intact. Packed with so much crunch and flavor, the stems are “a beautiful thing.”

Once the garlic is golden and the shallots are translucent, JJ adds the collards, coconut milk, 5-spice powder and salt into the pot. And in just 10 minutes, the greens come out silky and “magical” thanks to the sweetness of the coconut milk meshed with the bitterness of the collards.

To see this sorcery for yourself, cook along with JJ on the Food Network Kitchen app!

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