When folks think of the South, I imagine they’d think of Southern food – things like okra, cornbread, grits, sweet tea and Southern collard greens. Those are all things a true Southern cook should know how to prepare. Oddly enough, though, I’ve found that many folks are scared of greens. Not only in preparing them, but eating them, too. Southern collard greens are just about my favorite vegetable. I’ve been told that when I was little, I would turn down a bowl of ice cream for a bowl of collards and some cornbread. At the end of the season, my grandfather would harvest the remaining leaves and pull up the collard plants and I would take the plants and go plant them in the backyard for them to grow more.
It’s true, I might have an obsession with the leafy green. In fact, I grew my own this year and was able to cook my first mess just this past weekend. Now, for me, collards are not Southern collard greens unless they are cooked with a smoked ham hock; bacon just won’t do it. And I don’t care a lick about collards that have sugar in them. Just not my thing.
Here is a super-easy way to make some of the best Southern collard greens you’ve ever had. In the words of my great-grandmother, they might even make your tongue slap your brains out, so beware.
Let’s talk a little about what goes into this. You can certainly buy a bunch of collards at the farmers market or grocery store (and I urge everyone to do it at least one time) and cut and wash them yourself. You can also take the convenient way out and buy a 2-pound bag of the pre-cut, pre-washed kind. It’s a huge time saver and is so much easier. If you’re interested in what a ham hock actually is, click here. But I’d just advise you not to worry about all that and use it anyway. Y’all enjoy.
Southern Collard Greens
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours and 10 minutes
- 2 pounds washed and chopped collard greens
- 3 quarts water
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 3 chicken bouillon cubes
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Combine water, ham hock, bouillon cubes, salt, garlic and onion in a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Carefully add collards, allowing them to cook down a minute or two to allow the rest to fit into the pot.
- Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every now and then, or until the collards are tender.
- When ready to serve, stir in the vinegar.
- If you’d like, remove the ham hock and shred the meat.
- Return the meat to the greens and serve.