Untraditional New Year's Greens
provided by Cindy K. Smith

Collard greens have remained the greens of choice for the traditional meal. They are a cold weather green that is not only easily available this time of year, but at their flavor peak. Now with so many other healthful greens on the market, the choices are abundant.

I have chosen to use swiss chard, as it is a personal favorite and quick cooking. Mustard Greens, Kale and many others will do nicely too.

- 3 pounds of choice greens
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1-2 Slices of Bacon or Turkey bacon
- 2 leeks
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 2 to 4 cups water, chicken or vegetable stock
- Salt & Pepper to Taste

You'll need a large pot or deep sauté pan to begin, though the greens will reduce considerably.

Begin by washing the greens toughly, removing all the sand. Allow to drain. If there are some tough stems, remove them. This is really a personal preference. After the greens are washed, roll them in a bundle and slice across, so you have shreds of greens or "chiffonade". Set the greens aside. Wash the leeks and cut them in half lengthwise, then chop crosswise into half circles. Peel the garlic cloves and cut in half. Place the Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the pan and heat to medium. If you choose to use bacon, add it now.

Add the leeks and garlic cloves and sauté until soft, but not crisp. Add the chopped greens and toss to coat the mixture. Next add a tablespoon of stock while scraping, "deglazing", the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add more stock or water a cup at a time and cover to allow the greens to steam. Add more liquid when necessary and cook until desired tenderness is achieved. When ready to serve remove from pan, but retain the liquid in the pan. The juices make a wonderful soup base for later use. For a very untraditional twist, sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Serves 6.

Happy New Year! May every year be better than the one before!