I went to the farmer’s market today. That’s one of the perks of living in the South, fresh vegetables virtually year-round. Yes, it’s been a might chilly around these parts, especially for us. We do HEAT – we do NOT handle cold well.
Anyway, back to the market … I saw a HUGE pile of absolutely gorgeous collard greens. Just the sight of them brought back fond memories of eating these as a child so I snatched up a big bunch of them. $2!! TWO DOLLARS!! What a steal – and just look at them! Yum!
Now, I have to say that I really had no idea how to cook these beauties, I just knew that I had to find a way. I hadn’t enjoyed this true Southern delicacy in decades!
The first thing I did when I got home was set my greens in a sink of cold water with a little bit of white vinegar mixed in to clean all the grit off and went on a hunt for a collard greens recipe. Mind you, the last time I had collards, either my Mama or my Grandma Sunny made them for me, and I was nowhere to be found during the actual cooking process so I really had no idea what I was looking for. I just knew it had to be a Southern recipe. I sent out a plea to my lovely Facebook friends for help and ya’ll came through!! (Thanks everyone!)
This is a mixture of a few recipes that I thought sounded good as I put it together. I have to say that these greens were phenomenal!! My teenager and my husband were very impressed, and even my daughter’s boyfriend who doesn’t “do” vegetables tasted them and said they were very good. I will consider that a THREE out of THREE thumbs up! Haha! So without further ado, I give you Deep South Collard Greens.
1 large bunch fresh collard greens, cleaned, and chopped (remove larger stems as they are bitter)
1/2 to 3/4 lb fully cooked smoked ham (or other smoked meat)
6 to 8 slices of hickory smoked BACON
2 – 4 cups chicken broth (or water) – I used organic free-range chicken broth
1 medium onion sliced root to tip
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tiny pinch of nutmeg (I know – just trust me, please)
2 Tbsp Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
3 or 4 dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
Chop the bacon up into 1″ chunks. Cook in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat until fat is rendered and the bacon is just done (not crispy). Remove the bacon and set aside to drain.
Leave the grease in the pot and add the onion. Saute’ 3 – 4 minutes until soft, then add the garlic and cook one more minute. Add all of the greens and toss and stir to coat with grease and let it wilt down. (Don’t worry – it looks like a LOT, but it wilts down quickly) Pour the chicken stock (or water) into the pot. It should just cover the greens, don’t hesitate to add more if it’s needed. Add brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, salt, nutmeg, pepper flakes, and ham. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 80 minutes. Add bacon back into the pot and cook about 10 more minutes. Taste for seasonings and add additional salt, hot sauce and pepper to taste.
Doesn’t that look amazing? So run, don’t walk, to your nearest produce market and get yourself some fresh collard greens. You just have to make this. Trust me!
PS. – To put it delicately, if consuming dark green vegetables leaves your digestive system a bit uncomfortable, there are many carminative essential oils available to ease your discomfort (and embarrassment). They include Cassia, Cilantro, Fennel, Lemon, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Melissa, Myrrh, Peppermint, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, Spearmint, Thyme, Vetiver and Wild Orange just to name a few. If your interested in learning more about any of these oils, please visit Spark Naturals and search the Essential Oils category. Don’t forget to use the coupon code: Trixie for your 10% discount.
PSS. – I have included my referral link to Zaycon Fresh which is where I buy my bacon. It is delicious and thick-cut and it’s a steal at $3.49/lb. Just click on the word BACON in the ingredient list and you can browse the Zaycon site for yourself.