Texas Hill Country’s Fall Comfort Food Trio

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Photos by DiAne Gates

So for those cool nights when a salad just won’t do—come into my kitchen and I’ll share with you this grown-up version—a dinner sure to please even the pickiest eater. And good enough for company.

If your mom cooked greens like my mama did—all day on the stove. Please don’t. An hour’s all you need.

I bake the ham the day before I cook the Mac ‘n Cheese and if can finagle the time, I also do the prep work—like chopping onions, garlic, the cooled ham, or anything I can do to save time and arrive at the dinner table able to enjoy my guests and the food.

Like a New York stage play, any dinner has a leading dish, supporting dishes, then walk-ons. Make the stars of your table shine by using the best, but with those walk-ons you can fudge a little by using a good pre-packaged mix and sneaking in an extra ingredient or two to amp the flavor. Krusteaz distributes a wonderful honey cornbread mix that will save you a gallon of time, but still give you oohs and ahhs. And you can throw the box away. We’ll never tell.

Mixed Greens

Texas Hill Country’s Fall Comfort Food Trio


3 bundles of greens (I prefer a mixture)
Collards, Turnips, Mustard or Kale
1 onion chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1 carrot peeled and sliced in rounds
1 tomato seeded, fluid removed, chopped
¼ cup roasted Hatch Chili peppers seeded and chopped
2 packs of Goya Ham Flavored Concentrate
Two chunks of cooked ham rind
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 32 oz. chicken or vegetable broth
Red pepper flakes to taste (a shake or two goes a long way)
¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar

Slice greens in pieces, discarding tough stalks and immerse green mixture in large pot of water to rinse. Remove greens from water to colander. Empty pot, refill, and rinse greens two more times.

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