collard greens in a bright red bowl on a wooden surface

Collard Greens

Collard greens have a long history in the African-American community, going back to the days of the transatlantic slave trade.  While the dish may have originated in the south, it’s now enjoyed by all those who love “soul food”.   Collards were always on our dinner table on holidays when I was a kid, and even now that my siblings and I have children and grandchildren of our own, we still look forward to having them every Thanksgiving.  Traditionally, collard greens get their ‘down-home’ flavor from long, slow simmering with smoked turkey necks or ham hocks.  My recipe is slightly different from my mother’s traditional fare, but the basic elements are still there.  And I don’t  wait for holidays anymore; I make collard greens whenever I crave them, which is fairly often.

1 large bunch (about 2 pounds) collard greens
4 slices bacon
3 cups low sodium chicken stock or water
1/2 small finely diced onion
1/4 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons garlic powder
kosher salt

cutting board
chef’s knife
large (5-quart) pot, with lid
kitchen tongs
cooking spoon

1. Place collard greens in colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water to remove grit. Drain well.
2. Slice off woody stems from collards. Fold leaves in half lengthwise, then chop the greens into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
3. Fry bacon in pot over medium heat until very crisp. Remove bacon and dice into very small bits. Cook diced onion in bacon grease until soft, about five minutes.
4. Return bacon to pot, then add chopped greens, chicken stock, garlic and red pepper flakes.
5. Cover and simmer 75 – 90 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender but not mushy.  Taste and add more seasoning, if necessary.

• Large pieces of smoked ham or smoked turkey can substitute for the chopped bacon. Toss the cooked meat in with the greens, then pull meat from the bones and add them to the greens before serving.
• A few dashes of hot sauce can substitute for red pepper flakes. Either way, start with a little, taste the greens, then add more if necessary.

2 hours

6 servings

One thought on “Collard Greens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.