My friend, Linda, asked me recently for suggestions on what to do with the water she had used to cook kale. This water, known as pot liquor (sometimes spelled potlikker), has set many a cook’s heart aflutter because it’s loaded with flavor. Not only that, it’s also packed with nutrients from the kale, or whatever greens you have cooked in it.
Pot liquor is a U.S. Southern speciality, usually made from collard, mustard, or turnip greens, and can be used in place of water or broth in almost anything. Here are some ways to use it:
* In soups, stews, or chilis
* To cook rice, quinoa, or any other grain
* To braise vegetables or fish
* In a vegetable casserole
* In a vegetable smoothie
* In place of broth in a pan sauce
* If you have enough of it, you can reduce it and add a roux for a sauce, too. This would go very well with grilled/baked/sauteed tofu or tempeh.
* Add it to your pet’s food—it’s nutritious for our furry friends, too!
So, get yourself a nice big bunch of greens—any greens—and cook it down. The best way is to sauté greens in a pan with garlic and oil. But you can also use a small amount of water to boil them. That way, you get the nutrient-packed water without leeching everything out of the greens themselves. Place the greens in a large skillet or dutch oven and add about a cup of water and salt. After the greens are cooked, remove them and save the liquid. To sauté in oil, follow the recipe below, then reserve the pot liquor. It will have incredible added flavor from the garlic and spices.
(By the way, I was very tempted to call this blog “Pot Liquor,” but I was afraid it would draw the wrong kind of traffic. 🙂 As it is, I expect to get a lot of garbage from spammers who are keying in on the words “pot” and “liquor.”)
1 large bunch greens, washed, drained
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Coarsely chop the greens.
2. Heat the oil in a wide pan; add garlic and cook 1 minutes. Add paprika and red pepper lakes and immediately add the greens.
3. Add ½ cup water, salt, and pepper and mix well. Cover the pan and cook until greens are tender. The time will vary, depending on the type of green it is. Add more water if it starts to get dry.
4. Use tongs to remove the greens and garlic. Reserve the pot liquor for use in other recipes.