I was born and raised in Central New York, and more specifically, in the Utica/Rome area of Central New York.
There are many (many) unique things about the Utica/Rome area, just as there are unique things about any region in the world, but two of my favorite regional gems that I took from my Utica/Rome-area upbringing are Chicken Riggies and Utica Greens.
Today, I’m going to share my recipe for Utica Greens with you.
Traditionally, this dish is made with escarole, but oftentimes when I get a hankering and I can’t find any escarole, I will substitute kale, collards, chard…pretty much any bitter, hearty leafy green. I would never tell the Italian-American Uticans about this, but if I’m in a pinch, any green will do.
[You can learn more about the history of Utica Greens, or “Greens Morelle” via this New York Times Article]
I also have a difficult time in Maryland finding the appropriate type of hot cherry peppers, so I often have to substitute Sweet ‘n’ Hot’ peppers like these ones:
If you can handle the heat and locate them in your area (or order online), get the real ones instead::
I love to serve these greens with my other favorite hometown (homesick) dish: Chicken Riggies! I’ll be sharing that recipe with you very soon.