Collard greens are one of the most famous Southern recipes you will find. They’re famous not just because they’re full of history, but because they taste amazing too! They’re full of savory flavors and make an incredible side dish. Oh, and did I mention that collard greens are incredibly nutritious and full of vitamins, calcium, fiber and iron too?
Collard greens are full of history because they were a favorite of African slaves who were forced to get by on very little, and often had little more than the collard greens they could grow, and table scraps available to cook with. They found this amazingly simple recipe to be tasty, hearty, healthy and available year-round in the South. The meal is quite popular among African Americans, especially in the South, who appreciate both the incredible taste as well as the historical importance of this special side-dish or meal.
Serving this traditional meal is a reminder of many things. Yes, it is a reminder of slavery, but it is also a reminder of the resilience, versatility, innovation, and spirit that makes us all Americans. I hope that you will enjoy this wonderful dish with your friends and family because while it may be a product of enormous struggle, it is as American as apple pie.
Here’s how you make delicious, traditional collard greens…
Prep Time: 10 Minutes. Cook Time: 1 Hour. Ready In: 1 Hour, 10 Minutes
- 1 pound fresh Collard Greens
- Cooked ham hocks, thick cut bacon or smoked turkey leg
- 1 medium/large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- Olive oil
- Black pepper and Salt (~ 1 teaspoon each)
- A pinch of Red Pepper flakes, or fresh hot peppers from your garden
- Distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Collard Greens that are 10” or less in length are generally tastier. Begin by removing the thick sections of stem from your collard greens. You can fold them in half and cut them off with a knife, or simply tear the leaves away from the stem.
Now cut up your collard greens into bit sized pieces, approximately 2-inches in length. You can roll up your collard greens and cut them with a knife, or just tear them with your hands.
Add enough olive oil to a large pot to begin cooking your onions. You’ll want to cook them for about 5-minutes until they’re tender. Now add your garlic and red pepper flakes, mix them until the fragrance hits you. Reduce your heat to low and add your collard greens. Cook them until they begin to become tender and wilt.
Pour your chicken broth over your mixture, and add salt and pepper to taste as you cook. Keep your heat low, cover your pot, and cook until your greens are nice and tender, which generally requires 45-60 minutes.
When done, add a splash of vinegar to create the perfect flavor. Shop up the protein you cook with and serve.
A Note on Pot Likkur:
That liquid at the bottom of your pot is called Pot Likkur. It’s one of the best things about Collard Greens, as it’s a wonderful condiment that can be enjoyed with your collard greens, or used as a dipping sauce or gravy for other parts of your meal.
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