Dandelion Greens Add A Peppery Bite When Served Alongside Braised Meats

Braising meat is an ideal way to take a tougher cut like pork butt or lamb shank and turn it into a rich, juicy, succulent main course. The technique involves searing your meat to form a brown crust and then cooking it over low heat for a long time. It allows the flavor to intensify as the protein simmers in its juices, then veggies and aromatics are often added and they become similarly soft. However, when you pull the beef and vegetables out of the pot after braising, your meat can sometimes lack a depth of flavor.

To fix this, try incorporating dandelion greens for extra boldness and texture contrast. If you've never heard of these greens, they're the leaves of the dandelion plant and they're completely edible. Their taste is somewhat similar to arugula — peppery, slightly bitter, and potent. Dandelion greens may sound a little too strong to eat on their own (although plenty of people do), but this makes them the perfect ingredient for balancing out tender braised meat.

How to cook dandelion greens

If you want to pair dandelion greens with your braised meat, you'll likely want to cook them first, which tempers their bitter flavor just a smidge. You can essentially saute them like you would spinach, although they'll take a few minutes longer on the stove. But first, make sure to understand what type of these leaves you're buying. Younger ones will have a lighter taste, while more mature versions will be a little more potent. Before you add them to a pan, cut off any part of the stem that doesn't have leaves growing out of it.

Then, feel free to add any tasty ingredients that you'd normally incorporate into sauteed spinach, including garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper, or some shredded parmesan. Once the greens are off the stove, you may want to squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on top, along with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. You can serve them as a side dish with your braised meat, where they'll be tasty enough to stand on their own but will also complement your entree. Or you can plunk them right on top of your protein, which will make it easier to get the leaves and meat together in every bite.