Greens, Black Eyed Peas, and Cheese Bake Tuesday, December 30, 2008


1 1/2 pounds greens, washed and trimmed (kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens, or mixed)
1/2 lb hog jowl bacon, diced
salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided
1 cup half-and-half
4 TBSP butter
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (whole milk or part skim)
1 can black eyed peas, drained
3 TBSP dry bread crumbs
2 oz Mozzarella cheese, shredded, about 1/2 cup


Spray a 1 1/2-quart baking dish or casserole with cooking oil spray. Preheat oven to 375 deg. Cut out and discard the tough stems; if using kale or collards, cut out thick center ribs. Rinse all the greens and shake off any excess water, chop them into small pieces. In a large skillet, cook the bacon until browned. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Over medium heat, add the greens by handfuls and stirring them down as they wilt. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth, then cover the skillet; braise for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Pour off any liquid left in the skillet, then season the greens with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. In the large skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the broth and half and half and stir over medium heat until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Whisk in the grated Parmesan and ricotta cheeses. Stir the greens and the black eyed peas into the cheese sauce and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and then sprinkle the grated mozzarella over the top; bake for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the mozzarella is melted and lightly browned. Serve immediately passing the crisp bacon pieces to sprinkle on the casserole.

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