My gramma didn’t raise no fool – these collards are totally tasty, surprisingly comforting, and oh so easy to make!! I usually make mine with bacon instead of ham hocks, but if you have ham hocks (and maybe a bit more time), then by all means go for it. Bacon is a simpler alternative, which means less work for the dinner table!
Collards are a great addition to warm, winter meals. They are also great for holiday dinners – like Thanksgiving and Christmas – but I love to serve them most of all on New Year’s Day! I first had collard greens (that I can remember) when I went to a New Year’s Day dinner during college. We stuffed ourselves full of hoppin’ johns (black-eyed peas), pork, rice, and collards – all consumed in hopes that it would bring wealth and happiness during the coming year. It is a fun tradition that I have wanted to start doing myself.
I have been told smoked rock salt can make the greens ‘meatier’ for vegetarians / vegans and I have hopes of testing out a recipe soon. The general idea remains the same for larger amounts of greens, just add more water / stock / vinegar. You’ll end up with something like a light pork broth… my gram calls it pot liquor.
- 1(-2) large bunches of collard greens, washed, ribs/stems separated and diced, rip leaves into bite-size pieces
- (plus whatever other greens need using up, if needed)
- 5 slices thickly cut bacon, sliced into 1"pieces
- 3(-5) cups filtered water (or half chicken stock, half filtered water)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar (then adjust for taste)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (then adjust for taste)
- In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over medium low. Stir occasionally. When bacon is at a cooked but chewy stage (and has rendered a significant amount of fat), add all of the greens. Stir occasionally to coat the greens in the fat. When greens begin to wilt, add water (and/or stock) and vinegar and stir to combine.
- Cook over a medium low heat and a gentle simmer for 30 minutes - 1 hour (dependent on age of collards - younger greens take less time). After 30 minutes, taste for doneness and add salt to taste.
- I told you it was easy! Enjoy :)
- My favorite way to clean collard greens is to rip the leaves into bite size pieces and place in a stainless steel or ceramic bowl. I wash them in the bowl under running cold water, lift them, discard the water, and then fill the bowl halfway again. I like to swirl them and hand wash a few and then allow the dirt to settle in the bottom of the bowl.. Remember a little dirt won't hurt, but repeat as necessary until the water is free of dirt. Hand-wash each rib and prep separately.