What’s For Dinner?
R.L.'s Greens - from R.L.'s Off the Square
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
From the Menu of . . . R.L.'s Off the Square
1113 Floyd St., Covington
Q: I would like to request the recipe from a restaurant in Covington called R.L.'s Off the Square. It is a Cajun restaurant. They have turnip greens - or maybe they are mixed greens - with ham and seasonings, that are eaten like a soup or appetizer. They have other great dishes, but this is supreme. -- Floy Brandt, Atlanta
A: Co-owner Tricia Martin grew up in New York, and the first time she tried greens she was not impressed. But then she met R.L. Holmes, her future husband, and changed her mind. "I knew nothing about Southern cooking until I met him, " she said. "I thought never, never would I eat these things again until I tried his, and it's completely different." Holmes, who is from Alexandria, La., serves his greens like a stew, cooked in a stock he prepares from ham hocks.
Hands on time: 1 hour Total time: 1 hour and 45 minutes Serves: 16
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pound pork butt, diced
Salt and pepper
1 pound smoked sausage, diced
1 pound bacon, diced
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced carrots
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 head cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bunch collard greens, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bunch mustard greens, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bunch turnip greens, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 quart chicken stock
1 ham hock
1/4 cup Tabasco sauce
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup meat seasoning (such as Chef Paul Prudhomme's Pork and Veal Magic Seasoning Blend)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside; drain off most of the grease but reserve about 1 tablespoon, leaving it in the skillet. Add the onions. Cook slowly over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are brown but not burned, about 30 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic and saute an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
In a large stockpot, heat the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the cabbage, stir lightly and then cover the pot and cook about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent scorching. Add the collard, mustard and turnip greens and the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, then add the pork butt and sausage, bacon, onion and carrot mixture, the ham hock, Tabasco sauce, vinegar, meat seasoning and brown sugar. Cover and cook about 45 minutes, until greens are tender and flavors are well-incorporated. Adjust seasonings to taste.
For simplicity's sake, this recipe uses store-bought chicken stock and a ham hock. The greens are well-seasoned with hot sauce and vinegar, so Martin always advises restaurant patrons to try them before they start dumping on the condiments.