The Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s ban on meat and dairy on Wednesdays, Fridays and during the 40 days of Lent has inspired a large vegan repertoire, such as this peppery dish of collards (gomen, on an Ethiopian menu), spiced with cardamom, black pepper and ajwain seeds, which taste a lot like thyme but are cousins to coriander seeds and cumin.
Slideshow:Great Collard Greens
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large Spanish onions, finely chopped
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon ajwain seeds, finely ground
3 pounds collard greens—stems and inner ribs discarded, leaves cut into 3/4-inch pieces
How to Make It
In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cardamom, pepper and ajwain and cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned and the pot is slightly dry, about 8 minutes.
Add the collards to the casserole in large handfuls, letting each batch wilt slightly before adding more. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the collards are just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover the casserole and cook, stirring, until the most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and serve.
The cooked collards can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat gently before serving.
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