Chef Ed Lee’s approach to cooking is a thoughtful one and this dish is a perfect example. When he moved to Louisville from New York City, he learned all he could about the cuisine of “the South.” And having Korean food in his blood, it was only a matter of time before he started bringing the two worlds together.

Collards grow everywhere in the South but because of it’s rough nature, the product needs to be tamed. Back before collard greens were all the rage, the poor did just that. And on the other side of the world (however on the same latitude) South Koreans were doing the same thing with Napa cabbage. After the Korean War when food, let alone meat or fish, was scarce, they turned this “rough” product into something magical. And the marriage of two dishes that were born of necessity, a poor people’s food, seemed only natural.

RECIPE FOR COLLARDS AND KIMCHI

Feeds 6 to 8 as a side dish

Ingredients

1 tablespoon lard or bacon fat
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onions
1½cups diced country ham (about 10 ounces)
1½ pounds collard greens, washed, stemmed, and coarsely chopped
2½ cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
8 ounces (1 ¼ cups) Red Cabbage-Bacon Kimchi or store-bought

Directions

  1. Heat the lard and butter in a medium pot over high heat. Once the butter starts to foam, add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, or until they get a little color. Add the ham and cook for 3 minutes, until it is crispy but not too brown. Add the collards, chicken stock, and soy sauce, cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste the collards. They should be tender but still have a little chew to them.
  1. Add the vinegar to the greens and cook for 1 minute.
  1. Toss the kimchi into the pot with the greens. Mix together, and serve immediately, juices and all.