My stepdaughter, Jennifer, was married this past weekend in a sweet, simple service at a little white clapboard Methodist church outside Purvis, Miss.
The day was beautiful, the bride was gorgeous and the handsome groom serenaded her on the soprano sax at the reception to Christina Perria’s “A Thousand Years.” I don’t believe there was a dry eye in the house.
The wedding and the reception were, of course, the highlight of the weekend, although I will say the two hours leading up to the service were quite possibly the most nerve-wracking, emotional, hilarious and unexpected time I have ever spent with my family.
We will look back on the occasion for years to come with laughter and tears and memories that would make a sailor blush.
But I also have to mention that the night before the big day, we dined at a restaurant in Hattiesburg called Cotton Blues. It had the most eclectic Southern menu – honey-glazed quail, boudin-stuffed eggrolls, pecan-crusted oysters, boursin cheese grits and crab cake fettuccine, to name a few of its specialties.
Aunt Carrie from Brandon ordered the quail, which was served with bourbon sweet mashed potatoes and braised greens. Once she tried the greens, she called the server over and asked if she could get the recipe from the chef. The server came back – without the recipe – but with two ingredients: apple cider vinegar and pork fat.
I scoured the Internet when I got home, looking for a recipe that may have come close to the delicious greens Carrie had. After looking at several and taking reader suggestions, I’ve come up with this recipe that I plan to try this weekend when we do our annual “run-up to Thanksgiving” dinner.
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fresh collard greens, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 cups chicken broth
1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and cook until almost done. Add onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant. Add collard greens, and fry until they start to wilt.
Pour in chicken broth, vinegar and season with sugar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, or until greens are tender.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.