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May 7, 2007 02:51 PM

Collard Greens

I bought some collard greens today and a smoked ham shank. Anyone have what they think is a sure fire way to make these delicious?

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  1. Strip out the central stems, and put the leaves in a big pan of water to soak. Drain after a while, making sure any residual dirt has washed off. If you want to cook them with the shank, stack a few leaves at a time, roll them up and chop the rolls into 1/2" slices. Put them and the shank into a pot just large enough to hold them, add water just barely to cover, along with a couple of pods of the small dried red hot peppers. Bring this slowly to a boil, add a small amount of salt, reduce heat to a very gentle simmer, and cook covered until the greens are very tender. Remove shank and separate meat from bone and fat; dice or shred the meat and stir it back into the greens. Make some red beans and rice and a pan of cornbread, and if you're really into it have a cup of the hot "pot-likker" along with it.

    You can also begin as above with the stemming and chopping, then parboil and blanch the greens, and put them into a roasting pan with some fresh sausages and your ham shank. Sprinkle with kosher salt, slice an onion and strew that over the top, drizzle it all with oil and roast in a 350ยบ oven until the sausages are done, turning them now and then. I helped my best Nashville cookin' buddy do this one night, and this is how I remember it. That, and the fact that it was the first time I ever saw Mrs. O eat greens and ask for more.

    1. Will's recipe is right on target (the first one; have not done them the second way)
      Another flavor enhancer is a smoked turkey wing...just tear it into its three natural parts and cook it with the greens. Enjoy!

      5 Replies
      1. re: steakman55

        I saw Alton Brown cook this -- the show was pot of greens or something on FoodTV. He adds a little sugar. I made a mixture of collards and mustard greens. I wanted to put in some turnip greens, too but they're hard to find in San Francisco. Came out great. When I serve it, I add a few drops of pepper vinegar, like they do in the south.

        1. re: walker

          Yes yes...the sweet/sour method is really stellar...this recipe from epicurious is one I tried after sons attended FSU in Tallahassee and came away loving collards that were served in the cafeterias...Collards with Red Onion and Bacon...since you already have the ham hock, I would just use that instead of the bacon; I always cut way back on the bacon in this recipe to just a few strips, that's really all you need for the flavor, 1/2 pound is overkill (my opinion):

          1. re: walker

            One of the best cooks I've ever known always added a pinch of sugar to veggies. She told young just-married me that the natural sugar in them starts turning into starch almost immediately after picking, that the ones we usually buy have lost almost all their natural sweetness and need a little sugar to replace it.

          2. re: steakman55

            I usually smoke some turkey legs to do with greans, peas and beans.


          3. I'd go with Will's first recipe. I'd add some onion though.

            Let us know what you did and how it turned out.


            4 Replies
            1. re: Davwud

              When I add onion to greens like this, I chop and then cook them in a little oil (or with some chopped bacon) in the bottom of the pot. I usually add my dried red pepper during this process, so it can get nice and fragrant. Then, when the onion's fairly transparent, I raise the heat and stir in the greens. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon until the greens start to wilt and sag down, then add liquid. This is a fairly different procedure from that first recipe, but I think it's important to fry onion instead of just putting it in raw, which calls for a change in strategy.

              1. re: Will Owen

                For special dinners, I go one step further. I put a ham hock or a smoked turkey wing and a quart of store bought chicken broth in a pressure cooker and cook for 20 minutes or so. Once the stock is done, I always render some fat back, remove the cracklings, then cook the onions. I add the greens, toss them in the fat, add the red peppers and enough stock to just cover. Bring to a boill and then reduce and simmer til tender. Shred the ham hock or smoked turkey wing and add it to the pot. Serve with a jar of pepper vinegar and a crackings sprinkled on top. ( if you have not eaten them all)

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Well that's the way I do it too. I like it such that the onion ends up disolving into the broth (Or likker in this case) and thickens it just slightly. Adds a great flavour.


                2. re: Davwud

                  The collards turned out great...I sauteed the smoked ham shank and some chopped onions and garlic in a little olive oil...I added a lot of water, some hot sauce, cider vinegar, salt, pepper, a little brown sugar, and brought this to a boil, then simmered this mixture, uncovered for an hour...I then added the collards and about a tablespoon of butter, and cooked in uncovered for another hour...Thanks for all of your suggestions!

                3. If you want a healthy version for future use, just use smoked turkey necks (or drumsticks depending on the size of your pot). Also, mix the greens 1/2 and 1/2 with similarly sliced helps sweeten and tenderize the greens with a lot less salt and vinegar. Add a little beef broth to the water, a little apple cider vinegar, and a bunch onions and garlic, and a dash of pepper flakes. Simmer till tender, shred turkey, toss & serve....YUM.

                  1. Everything is on target but don't forget to add one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.