Food & Drink

Kil’t Greens with Bacon Jam

Serves 4-6

Chef Ouita Michel serves a versatile version of an Appalachian classic

Photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Traditionally, Appalachian cooks prepare kil’t greens in the springtime, from tender garden lettuces and the nascent leaves of wild plants. When those delicate greens meet a boiling-hot dressing of bacon, onion, and vinegar, they soften and wither immediately. In other words, they’re kil’t. At her restaurants, Ouita Michel serves a versatile version of the Appalachian salad year-round. For best results, she says, use a variety of fresh greens. “I try to get everything in the mix,” Michel says. “If you do, say, young kale and mustard greens together, you get a blend of sweet and spicy. Then you get the skillet hot, add the bacon jam, add the greens, and toss, toss, toss until they just start to break down.”


  • Kil't Greens

    • 2 lbs. mixed young greens, such as mustard, chard, kale, and spinach

    • 1/4 cup bacon jam (recipe below)

    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    • Optional garnishes: hot pepper vinegar, red onion, sliced boiled egg

  • Holly Hill Inn's Bacon Jam

    • 1 lb. good-quality bacon, diced

    • 1 1/2 cups diced onion

    • 1/3 cup bourbon

    • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

    • 1 cup brown sugar

    • 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard


  1. For the greens: 

    Submerge greens in standing water, remove any large stems, and rip leaves into bite-size pieces if necessary. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high, add bacon jam, and melt. Add greens, turn heat to high, and toss until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish as desired and serve immediately.

  2. For Holly Hill Inn’s Bacon Jam: 

    Cook bacon in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until a good amount of fat has rendered and bacon just starts to turn golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add diced onion, turn the heat down to low, and cook together until onion is tender. Add bourbon, vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard, and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Makes about 2 cups)

From chef Ouita Michel, Holly Hill Inn, Midway School Bakery, Smithtown Seafood, Wallace Station, Windy Corner
Midway, Kentucky