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Mac and Greens
Over 2 hours
10 to 12

Sometimes you put a dish on the menu to try it out, and it takes over. You find that out when you take it off the menu and there’s a chorus of disappointed voices. That dish has become a classic.

I wanted comfort food, but I knew I needed something to cut the richness. Collards (spring greens) give you something to chew on and a different kind of richness. Then I took another left turn and slipped in some cauliflower for another level of texture. Everybody agrees. Mac and Greens is yummy.

The recipe includes our recipe for Spiced Butter. We use this butter as a flavour enhancer – you find it in a lot of recipes in the book. It has a hint of funk, like the funk of fermented foods, the new wave of flavour to follow umami. There are a lot of versions of spiced butter in Ethiopia. My version is true to that made by my wife Maya’s tribe, the Gurage.

Extracted from Red Rooster Harlem The Cookbook, by Marcus Samuelsson, published by Pavilion Books, photography by Bobby Fisher

Recipe courtesy of

For the Mac and Greens

  • 60g/2¼ oz unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 litre/35fl oz double cream
  • 240ml/8fl oz milk
  • 150g/5½ oz tiny cauliflower florets
  • 120ml/4fl oz crème fraiche
  • 230g/8oz Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 115g/4oz Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 115g/4oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 450g/1lb orecchiette or other small, sturdy pasta, cooked until just tender
  • 320g/11¼ oz Killer Collards, reheated (see below)

For the topping

  • 30g/1oz dried breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 heaped tbsp fresh basil leaves
  • 55g/2oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ tsp coarse sea salt
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground white pepper

For the Killer Collards (serves 6 to 8)

  • 230g/8oz Spiced Butter (see below)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped, or ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes 900g/2lbs collard greens (spring greens), stemmed and chopped
  • 4 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Coarse sea salt

For the Spiced Butter (makes about 750ml/26fl oz)

  • 900g/2lbs unsalted butter
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 finely chopped shallots
  • a 5cm/2in piece of ginger (peeled, sliced and smashed)
  • 1½ tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1½ teaspoons fenugreek
  • 1½ teaspoons ajwain
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
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For the Mac and Greens

  1. Set a rack in the centre of the oven. Preheat the grill. Butter a 23cm x 32cm/9in x 13in baking dish.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring often, until turning golden, 9 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in half the cream and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens and comes to a simmer. Pour in the remaining cream, the milk and the cauliflower and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils. Turn off the heat and add the crème fraîche and cheeses. Whisk until the cheeses melt. Whisk in the mustard, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Add the pasta and collards and stir well. Pour into the baking dish.

For the topping

  1. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the herbs are very finely chopped. Strew over the mac and greens.
  2. Grill until the topping is golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Leave this to rest for 30 minutes before serving.

For the Killer Collards

  1. Melt the spiced butter in a large stockpot over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and chillies, and sauté until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the collards, stir in the vinegar, brown sugar and salt to taste, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer until the greens are very tender, about 1½ hours.
  2. Serve hot or warm.

For the Spiced Butter

  1. Melt 900g/2lbs unsalted butter in a saucepan over a low heat.
  2. Add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, 2 finely chopped shallots, a 5cm/2in piece of ginger (peeled, sliced and smashed), 1½ tablespoons coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, 1½ teaspoons fenugreek, 1½ teaspoons ajwain, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon ground turmeric.
  3. Simmer very gently for 30 minutes to infuse the flavours. Keep an eye on this; you don’t want the milk solids to brown.
  4. Skim off all the foam and any floating seeds, and let the butter sit for about 10 minutes for the milk solids to settle on the bottom.
  5. Carefully pour the spiced butter through a sieve lined with a few layers of muslin into a container, leaving the solids behind.
  6. Let it cool, then cover and refrigerate. It will keep for months.
  7. This makes about 750ml/26fl oz.

The Pass was created to help the many people now struggling to feed themselves and their families as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. If you like or use this recipe, please consider making a small donation to Hospitality Action to help those whose livelihoods have all but disappeared.

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