Collard Greens are so distinctly southern and possibly my favorite cooked green dish. Remarkably easy to make and yet robust, flavorful and unique. Accompanying a slow cooked pot roast, grilled pork chops, or meatloaf, collard greens are my perfect choice of vegetable side.
Collards are a tough, hearty winter growing vegetable. Surviving many freezing nights and frost covered mornings, collards are one of the few crops we harvest in December and January. We plant our late fall/winter crop of collards in September and harvest from early November to the end of January.
For our recipe, start with freshly harvested greens picked up at your local farmers market or out of your CSA box. De-stem the greens. Collards have a very tough, thick center stem. An easy way to prepare is to strip the leaves off by holding upside down and running two fingers along this center, ripping as you go.
Layer the stripped leaves on a cutting board and chop into 1″ pieces.
1 bunch of de-stemmed, coarsely chopped collard greens
2 cups chicken broth
1 small onion, diced
smoking meat. my favorite is the smoked jowl but equally good is a thick smoked bacon or smoked belly meat, if you can find it.
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes (optional)
Heat the oil in the stock pot and sauté the onions until translucent and soft. Add the collards, broth, smoking meat. Cook on low heat 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Collards will turn a darker green and become tender. The smoked flavor of the meat along with its juices will coat all the greens in a smokey, rich goodness.
Serve hot and enjoy.