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Mar 23, 2008 08:55 AM

The Secret to Good Greens?


I love me some greens, and I was wondering if southerners wanted to share their recipes for them - collards, namely. I've heard of a few different methods but it seems that the best ones involve cooking them in bacon fat. Does anyone have an argument to this? Anyway, it doesn't have to be your own recipe, and also, if you don't have a recipe but you happen to know of a restaurant (in the Athens or Atlanta area, please) that has prize-worthy greens, please let me know that, too!

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  1. I use smoked turkey wings or legs and get good results. Start by simmering the wings or legs in the cooking water four an hour or two, then add the greens and cook till done. Adjust for salt and peper.

    1. Not a big fan of Collards...Turnip & Mustard is another story. Any of your usual pork seasoning meats will work...Ham, Bacon, Ham Hock, Salt Pork, Smoked neck bones, hog jowl, etc. Smoked turkey parts are fine too. Like chazzer said, start yoiu cooking water well in advance of cooking the greens......


      1 Reply
      1. re: Uncle Bob

        I like to cook a combination of the greens and use smoked ham hocks.

      2. Collards are my favorite and I always cook them with bacon.
        Cut a few strips of bacon into small pieces and cook until almost crisp. Add a chopped onion and sauté until translucent and starting to turn golden. Add the washed and chopped collards with the rinsing water still clinging to them. Toss well with the bacon, drippings, and onions. I add a hot tabasco pepper, black pepper and kosher salt. Cover and allow to sweat. Check every few minutes and stir the greens down.
        Cook as long as necessary to get to the way YOU like them. If you want more pot likker, add a little chicken stock.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MakingSense

          missed you, making sense! i add a little vinegar, too -- while cooking. and this vinegar at the table: texas pete pepper sauce.

          1. re: alkapal

            I like vinegar too but don't add it while cooking. Seems to make the greens grey. Especially if I make a big pot and store leftovers.

            We make bottles of pepper vinegar every Fall. Soooo easy. Just stuff hot peppers into bottles and fill the bottles with boiling vinegar. Set to the side to age. Much cheaper than buying at the store - especially at the rate we go through the stuff at the table!!! ]
            I always put a few pepper plants in the garden just for pepper vinegar.

        2. vinegar is crucial.

          pork adds a lot.

          i agree with the sautee and then cover and steam recipe above.

          just sprinkle with vinegar before eating.

          3 Replies
          1. re: chartreusevelour

            I would like to try greens also. I understand one of the three greens mentioned, Mustard, Collard, or Turnip, has a strong odor when cooking. Which one is it, as I don't think I'd like to try that one. TIA!

            1. re: marycarol

              i always thought that turnip greens were the strongest flavor - but delicious cooked proper.
              I USED to cook using the smoked ham hocks and bacon fat - I've been force to cook a bit different and non-traditional - Olive oil and garlic- I will still use some smoked meat first - but will de-fat it (boil it and take the fat off, but leave the smoked water and the meat) - it isn't as good as the original, but I can eat gobs of it with out worry.

              1. re: EmileJ

                I've been using bacon as a seasoning in my braised greens/cabbage/whatever by chopping three or four slices crosswise, about 1/4" inch, and then frying the bits in about 1/4 cup of oil in the 5-qt. non-stick sauté pot (STILL $19.99 with rebate at Bat Barf & Beyond - check it out!) until they're just crisp. Drain the bacon, wipe out the pan - not TOO well - then heat another few tablespoons of oil, toss the bacon back in, and then your coarsely chopped and rinsed greens over high heat. A small handful of salt strewn over, some pepper, and then carefully turn it over and over until it all slumps down a bit, then put on the lid, turn the heat to low, and give it 20-30 minutes with an occasional re-stir. Works for green beans and Brussels sprouts as well - tastier than steamed, quicker than roasted. It is in some ways an inversion of the classic French method of blanching, chilling, draining and sautéeing, but a whole lot faster, and lower in fat as well.

          2. I saute greens in bacon fat, pepper flakes and garlic and sometimes splash in some balsamic at the end. BUT I also love my grannie's greens. That is greens, onions, hambone (or smoked hock or pork belly) with meat on it , a little water and salt. Cooked into oblivion and then served with a tone of pepper sauce on top, and alongside, fried okra, butter beans(with ketchup mixed in) and corn bread (with honey). I could live on that.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sal Vanilla

              sal, did your grandmother fry the okra in a batter, or just toss it in seasoned flour and then fry? i've never had the butter beans with ketchup. how much do you put?