Collard greens take me home…way back home to Texas. I love southern soul food and it doesn’t get any more soulful than Southern Collard Greens.
As a kid, collard greens were one of the first vegetables I remember liking. It’s made with a bit of pork to give it a full bodied and salty flavor. The apple cider vinegar gives it a little twang. And the hot pepper or hot sauce gives your mouth a good kickin’. It bursts with flavor in your mouth. This is one of my favorite ways to eat any kind of greens. You can substitute mustard greens, turnips greens, whatever you pull out of your hat or your garden.
Ode to Greens
Southerners love their greens. A time-honored tradition in southern kitchens, greens have held an important place on the table for centuries. There is no other vegetable that is quite so unique to the region. Greens are any sort of cabbage in which the green leaves do not form a compact head. They are mostly kale, collards, turnip, spinach, and mustard greens.
The traditional way to cook greens is to boil or simmer slowly with a piece of salt pork or ham hock for a long time (this tempers their tough texture and smoothes out their bitter flavor) until they are very soft. Typically, greens are served with freshly baked corn bread to dip into the pot-likker. Pot likker is the highly concentrated, vitamin-filled broth that results from the long boil of the greens. It is, in other words, the “liquor” left in the pot. It is said by southern grandmothers that “Pot likker will cure what ails you and if nothing ailing you, it will give you a good cleaning out.” Let’s get you cleaned out!
Serves 4 | Prep Time: 15 min | Cook time 35 minutes
- 2 pounds collard greens
- 4 Tbs olive oil
- 1 cup 1/4-inch diced pancetta, bacon, salt pork or hamhock
- 1 cup onion
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or hot sauce
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- No pork? Add 1 tsp sea salt
Cut off and discard the tough stems and discolored leaves from the greens. Cut across the leaves into 2-inch ribbons.
In a large stock pot, over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the diced salt pork (pancetta), and cook until lightly browned and just crisp (about 2 minutes). Remove to a paper towel lined plate and let cool.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the onion to the pot and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, then add the red chili flakes (or hot sauce) and black pepper.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add Collard greens. Stir occasionally until greens have wilted down. Add the chicken stock, the water and cover. Cook for 30 minutes, then pork and the apple cider vinegar. Serve.