If you ask people in the South to name one of their favorite comfort foods, collard greens will probably be in their top 5. It’s a perfect side dish to serve with ham, fried chicken, or a vegetable plate. Add a slice of cornbread and you have a perfect meal with anything you serve them with.
There are no hard and fast rules on how to cook them, however, you do have to cook them. They are too tough to eat raw as you would kale or spinach. Ingredients and cooking times will vary depending on who you are talking with. My mom only used bacon and salt, while others will add garlic and hot peppers. This recipe is one I frequently use.
Collard greens have a high nutritional value. They are an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. It has also been determined that they contain the 4th highest antioxidant content in a study of 12 nutrient-dense foods, they can lower blood cholesterol, and some studies have shown they can lower your cancer risk.
The hardest part of cooking collards is in the prep. The center stalk is quite tough and must be removed first. Then, chop the collards and wash them 2-3 times to remove all grit and dirt.
In a large stockpot, add the onions, garlic, and ham (or your smoked meat of choice). I used red onion but you could use whatever you have on hand. The ham I used was from one of our pigs that we smoked. Bacon or smoked turkey works well, too. Over medium heat, saute for 3-4 minutes.
Add the prepared collards and chicken stock. The collards will shrink after a couple of minutes and you will wonder where they all went. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 1-2 hours until they reach the tenderness you prefer. If the collards are very fresh it should only take an hour. Collards that are a couple of days older will take longer.
- 1 bunch collard greens prepped and washed
- 1/4 pound smoked ham or bacon
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 cups chicken stock (or water)
- 2 teaspoons seasoned salt (or to taste)
- Prepare the collards by removing the center stalk, chop, and wash 2-3 times to remove all grit and dirt.
- In a large stockpot, add the ham, onion, and garlic. Over medium heat, saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the collards, chicken stock, red pepper flakes, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 1-2 hours until tender.
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