To know Carla Hall is to love Carla Hall! She really is that wonderful and joyous! In addition to already being super famous for her role on The Chew and other shows, the divine Ms. H, now has a cookbook out: Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You. (Atria Books, 2012)

The book is full of easy and simple recipes rooted in Carla’s heritage. I have to say that the first recipe I tried, though, was Matthew’s Chicken Curry and it was quite simple and my kids LOVED IT. The pound cake recipe alone is worth buying the book for! Carla includes stories in the book along with her recipes about her journey to becoming a super star. I loved the the photos capture her spirit: vibrant and alive.

I think this book is a terrific gift book: it is, as the title says, a book about food that hugs you!

(recipe and photo used here with permission from Atria Books)

Country Greens

excerpted from Cooking with Love by Carla Hall (Atria Books, 2012) Photo by Greg Powers

Serves 8

No Southern meal is complete without greens. Traditionally, they’re simmered long and slow until melty and soft. I love ’em that way, but actually prefer a little bite to them—both in their mustardy flavor and hearty leafy texture. Growing up in the South, I learned that the greens were sometimes besides the point. The pot likker—the leftover cooking broth—is what really matters, at least as much as the greens themselves. Traditionally, salt pork simmers alongside the greens to flavor the likker. I use smoked turkey wings to get a broth that’s just as tasty but has even more complex gamey, savory flavors. Be sure to serve this with Skillet Cornbread for sopping. And save any leftover likker to make soup.

2 pounds smoked turkey wings

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes

2 quarts water 2 pounds collard greens, rinsed and dried

2 pounds kale, rinsed and dried

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large pot, combine the turkey, garlic, chile flakes, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the greens: Working in batches, hold the stems of the collards with one hand and the leaves with the other, folding up the leaves together like the wings on a butterfly.

Pull the leaves down, leaving the stem clean. If the leaves are really large, cut them down the center. Stack a few leaves, then roll them like a cigar. Slice the roll into thin shreds. Repeat with the remaining collard leaves, then with the kale.

3. Add the sliced greens to the pot and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Remove the wings and let cool until you can handle them. Pull the meat from the wings, discard the bones, and return the meat to the pot. Serve hot.

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