New Years Day is fast approaching, and if you have Southern Roots, chances are you’ll be wanting to make a pot of these lucky nutrient enriched greens called “Collard Greens” for a chance at better fortune since the leaves represent folded money in old Southern Folklore.
Collard greens have been a staple vegetable of the Southern U.S. cuisine for many years. They are often mixed with other similar green leafy vegetables, such as kale, turnip greens, spinach, and mustard greens.
Most of us love to eat these tasty greens year-round in the Deep South. The Typical Southern flavorings and seasonings used in collard greens are smoked ham hocks, salted pork neckbones, fatback, smoked bacon, andouille sausage, diced onions, a smidge of vinegar, salt, and black, white, or crushed red, pepper, and a pinch of sugar to take the bitterness away if need be.
Traditionally, collard greens are eaten by many on New Year’s Day, with black-eyed peas or field peas, and homemade cornbread, to ensure wealth in the coming year, as the leaves of the greens resemble folded money. Cornbread is often used to mop up the delicious pot liquids.
Can you believe; Ancient Greeks grew collard greens and kale, Romans, produced several varieties, including one with large leaves and stalks possessing a mild flavor? That means Collard greens have been eaten for at least 2000 years. Isn’t that crazy? Well, insane good apparently, so get those collard greens going.
Happy New Years from The McCallum Family.
Ingredients needed to make Southern Collard Greens
Three cups of low-sodium chicken broth
Three cups of water
One sizeable smoked ham hock
Three slices of smoked thick-cut bacon
Two tablespoons unsalted butter
One large yellow onion chopped
Five cloves of garlic chopped
Three pounds of fresh collard greens
One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
A dash of hot sauce
Two tablespoons of sugar, optional
One tablespoon of Cajun seasoning
1/2 of a tablespoon of kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to own taste
How to clean Collard Greens
Inspect the greens thoroughly. Pull off any yellow or limp leaves as you separate the bunch.
Soak the collard greens at least 10 minutes to let all the grit float to the top of the water.
Wash the leaves by swishing them vigorously in a bowl of cold water. Pull the leaves out of the water, re-fill the bowl with clean water and repeat until you no longer see any grit coming off. It usually takes about 3 cycles for farm-fresh greens.
Pat or spin the greens dry.
Cutaway the tough stems and, if you prefer, the center veins.
Southern-Style Collard Greens
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- 1 large smoked ham hock
- 3-4 slices smoked bacon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 3 pounds fresh collard greens cleaned, chopped
- 1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
- 1 dash hot sauce or to taste
- 2 tablespoons sugar optional
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- kosher salt to own taste
- freshly ground black pepper to own taste
- Place 3 cups of low sodium chicken broth and 3 cups of water in a large stockpot and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add the smoked ham hock and thick sliced smoked bacon; simmer for about 15-20 minutes on medium heat.
- Meanwhile, wash the collard greens cleaning each leaf under cold running water until free of any unwanted debris.
- Fold each collard leaf in half, on a large cutting board and cut the leaf away from the stem.
- Next stack about 5 of the collard leaves together on your cutting board.
- Begin at one end and roll the leaves up tightly like a cigar. Then, cut long ways down the center of the rolled collard green leaves.
- Squeeze the cut sections back together, rotate and cut the roll into about 1/2 of an inch ribbon. Reserve the collard greens to the side till they are ready to cook.
- Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a metal skillet on medium heat and let it slowly melt, add the chopped onions and chopped garlic, cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat; or till softened.
- Add the collard greens to the large stockpot in 1/3 or 1/4 batches at a time, let them wilt down for about 2-3 minutes and then add another batch to the pot to do the same, till all collard greens are in the pot.
- Add the cooked onions and garlic at this time to the large stockpot.
- Next, add the apple cider vinegar, a dash of hot sauce, sugar, Cajun seasoning, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper to own taste. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer about 45-55 minutes.
- Remove the ham hock and thickly sliced bacon from the collard greens at this time.
- Remove the collard greens from the stockpot with a slotted spoon; place in a serving dish, add as much of the wonderful juice as desired back to the greens.
- Serve with your favorite Southern main course and cornbread to mop up those juices.