‘Award Winning’ Collard Greens

Collard Greens

As I was making my weekly meal plan before my grocery store trip, I remembered there was a pork shoulder in the freezer. I have been craving some pulled pork barbecue, and Jon loves to spend time grilling on the weekends. I decided pulled pork was perfect for our Sunday dinner that week; I can have my barbecue and Jon can get his grill on. As with any great meal, we need a great side dish. What goes great with barbecue? Any southern cook would say, COLLARD GREENS! I quickly jotted down the ingredients I needed to make my own greens on the grocery list.

I’ve tried my fair share of collard greens living in the South, and they are not all created equally. Most collard greens I have come across, I haven’t liked all that well. There is only about one to two restaurants where I’ll eat their greens. If they aren’t prepared right, the greens can be tough and bitter. I’ve had some greens that are even covered in too much vinegar-yuck!

As Jon and I were picking up our grocery list items, he saw me looking at the bunches of collards. He told me about the collard green cook-off they are having where he works. (Right now, Jon is the reigning champion of their chili cook-off.) I quickly grabbed the greens and told him we have to get to work on our greens recipe so he can enter.

For my first time making collard greens, (I am from the North, so I haven’t really made them a lot) they were fabulous! My uncle, who doesn’t like greens and normally doesn’t eat them, went ahead and tried my collard greens,; he went back for seconds! We came up with a great recipe for entering the contest!

I can also say that I am the reigning champion of the collard greens cook-off and my recipe deserves the title, “Award Winning”. Not too bad for my second time making them…

 

If you’ve never made collard greens before, here’s how I buy them and get them into strips:

Bunch of Collards

When I buy my greens, I buy them in the bunches. My grocery store sells them in bunches of twos. So you’ll have two bunches that look like this.  This is a single bunch, so imagine two of these.

Tear leaves from ribs

You’ll want to wash them well. Tear or cut the large rib out to remove the leaves.

Stack Collard leaves Roll Collard leaves

Make a few stacks of the leaves and roll them up length wise.

Cut collard leaves into strips

Cut into 2-inch strips. You’ll end up with about 25-30 cups of cut greens…sounds like a lot, but they will wilt down tremendously.

 

Bowl of cut collard leaves

 

On to the recipe!…

Ingredients:
2 bunches of collard greens (washed well), leafs removed from stems, and cut into 2-inch strips (discard stems)
2-14oz cans chicken broth
1 smoked ham hock
3-4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ tsp ground chipotle powder
½ onion chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

 

HamHock Infused broth
Place the ham hock into a saucepan and pour in the chicken broth. Add in 2 tbsp of the apple cider vinegar (the remaining 2 tbsp of the apple cider vinegar will be added later. I’ll let you know when.) Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 30-45 minutes. This will infuse the pork flavor into the chicken broth (so yummy!). Remove the pan from heat and set aside.

 

Bacon with Chipotle Powder

Stir the chopped bacon with the chipotle powder to coat the bacon. Cook the bacon pieces on medium heat in a large Dutch-oven (I’m using a 7-quart size) until crisp.

Onions and Bacon

Add the chopped onion in with the bacon and cook until the onion is translucent.  Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.

 

Add Collards to dutch oven

Place the collard leaves into the Dutch-oven and add in the sugar, salt, and pepper. Add in the remaining 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar.

 

Wilt collards

Gently toss until the leaves are all coated in the bacon grease. The greens will wilt slightly, but not completely yet.

 

Add ham hock and broth to collards

Transfer the ham hock to the pot of greens and spoon in the pork-infused chicken broth. Gently toss the greens again in the broth until coated.

 

Delicious Collards

Cover the Dutch-oven of greens with a lid and turn the heat down to a low-medium heat (low enough to keep the broth at a low simmer). Cook for about 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours or until the greens are nice and tender. Stir or toss the greens gently, occasionally, throughout cook time.  Notice how the color change of the greens; they turn to a deep, dark green after cooking for the 2 hours.

 

 


'Award Winning' Collard Greens

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 12 servings

Delicious and savory collard greens with a slight sneaky hint of heat.
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches of collard greens (washed well), leafs removed from stems, and cut into 2-inch strips (discard stems)
  • 2-14oz cans chicken broth
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 3-4 slices bacon
  • ½ tsp ground chipotle powder
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the ham hock into a saucepan and pour in the chicken broth. Add in 2 tbsp of the apple cider vinegar (the remaining 2 tbsp of the apple cider vinegar will be added later. I’ll let you know when.) Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 30-45 minutes. This will infuse the pork flavor into the chicken broth (so yummy!). Remove the pan from heat and set aside.
  2. Stir the chopped bacon to coat with the chipotle powder . Cook the bacon pieces on medium heat in a large Dutch-oven (I’m using a 7-quart size) until crisp.
  3. Add the chopped onion in with the bacon and cook until the onion is translucent.
  4. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  5. Place the collard leaves into the Dutch-oven and add in the sugar, salt, and pepper. Add in the remaining 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Gently toss until the leaves are all coated in the bacon grease. The greens will wilt slightly, but not completely yet.
  6. Transfer the ham hock to the pot of greens and spoon in the pork-infused chicken broth. Gently toss the greens again in the broth until coated.
  7. Cover the Dutch-oven of greens with a lid and turn the heat down to a low-medium heat (low enough to keep the broth at a low simmer). Cook for about 2 hours or until the greens are nice and tender. Stir or toss the greens gently, occasionally, throughout cook time.

 

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