The Local Flavor
Spreading the love, Southern-style SOUTHERN-STYLE COLLARD GREENS BY STEPHEN KOPFINGER, Correspondent
Here's a classic Dixie dish that comes straight from the heart.
And soul. As in Soul Restaurant, which Derrick Burch and Elizabeth Kirej opened at 33 Ranck Ave. last December.
It's a cozy place with a menu that's small but hearty, offering up such fare as fried chicken, jerk chicken and smothered pork chops. Burch's own recipe is for Southern-style collard greens and, if you don't know what collard greens are, Burch, 44, describes them as "almost like a kale or a spinach. It's a good leafy vegetable."
The dish also takes on the flavors of onion, garlic and chicken stock and is simple to make.
It also speaks to family heritage. Burch, of Lancaster, grew up in a big household. "Oh, my, very large," he says of the extended family with whom he lived.
"My mom was always cooking around the house. I learned a lot from her," he says with pride. The first thing he remembers making as a child was a fried egg sandwich.
People have told Burch they remember his youthful experiments with sandwiches, and he honed his skills running Catering and Event Planning, a local firm, for almost 20 years. Burch also has served as a past director with Lancaster Weed & Seed, a community initiative which seeks to reduce crime and improve neighborhoods.
Burch is proud that Kirej, 42, is not only his business partner "but my life partner," he says.
He admits there's little fun in the business aspect of running a restaurant, but he adores "cooking and giving people a great product. I'm sharing the love."
3 or 4 bunches fresh collards
16 ounces chicken broth
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves chopped garlic
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Wash and cut collards. Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until greens are tender.
Makes 4-6 servings.