Collard Greens

Collard Greens

Southern collard greens minus onions, garlic, and aches and full of comfort. Drink the accompanying Pot Likker to calm your soul and ease your joints (seriously, this is as voodoo as you will find on DeliberateFare.com). Low-FODMAP greatness.

By DeliberateFare.com, variation of What's Cooking America mess o' greens at WhatsCookingAmerica.net

Another favorite Southern classic dish of mine is collard greens. Oh, how I love greens! Oh, how I hate the onions and garlic that are often added to these greens to make them so flavorful...or so you think...greens really don't require much to become flavorful. Seriously. The only common denominators that I found across recipes was salt and fat. This recipe from What's Cooking America checks off both salt and fat by using the traditional ham hocks. But of course, we want to avoid nitrates and nitrites as much as possible at the City-Ranch due to their impact on migraines. Therefore, I use uncured ham hocks; ask your butcher for some, and I bet s/he will easily point you in the right direction.

This recipe is as relaxed as Sunday cooking gets around here. Put a pot on the stove, add three ingredients, and in under 2 hours we have an awesome vegetable side ready to eat, a side of Collard "Green Beans" prepped for the week, and a month's supply of Pot Likker tucked away in the freezer (see Suggestions for details). In case you don't read between the lines well, this recipe is all about repurposing and getting the most out of every inch of your ingredients. Go ahead, channel your penny-wise Southerner side.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 - 2 uncured ham hocks (I use Wellshire Farms because they have pork, water, salt, and cane syrup only)
  • 12 cups filtered water
  • 2 bunches collard green leaves to yield approximately 5 densely-packed cups after washed and chopped

METHOD

  1. In a large stock pot, add ham hock(s) and water. How do I know how many ham hocks to use, it all depends on the size and how meaty I would like the stock to taste. Sometimes I go with one. Other days I go with two. It's really not a big deal.
  2. Place stock pot on stove top with heat at high. Bring water to a boil.
  3. When water comes to a boil, immediately reduce heat and allow to simmer for 1 hour.
  4. While stock is simmering away, prep the greens.
  5. Thoroughly wash each individual leaf, scrubbing away any little fuzzy white caterpillar like bugs (they're small, like the size of a grain of rice; they won't hurt you, just kinda gross to put into the stock) and dirt. Get in there real good and scrub the dirt away!
  6. Onto counter, place a large cutting board. Place one leaf on board, laying flat. Using a sharp knife, cut two long strips, each along the ridge of the center stem of the leaf, from top of leaf to bottom of leaf. Set stem aside onto large plate. Place the two leaf halves atop each other and set those aside onto another plate.
  7. Continue slicing the stem away from the leaf halves until you have worked through both bunches of collard greens.
  8. Take the leaf halves and neatly stack them into one large stack. Onto cutting board, chop leaves into 2-inch by 2-inch pieces. Set chopped greens aside on plate.
  9. Take stems and place those into a zip-lock baggie and into the refrigerator. These make excellent collard "green beans" (see Suggestions for quick recipe). If you throw away these greens stems, I will know it, you will know it, and you will be feeling oh so wasteful when you go to sleep tonight. Don't do that. Just keep those green beauties, OK?
  10. After the broth has been simmering for an hour, place chopped greens into pot. Allow them to simmer for another 45 minutes.
  11. Greens should be a deep green and tender when done. Taste for whether they need some salt. Never add salt before they are done cooking, as this dish often gets plenty of salt from the ham hocks. If needed, add kosher salt 1 tsp at a time.
  12. Place large bowl into clean sink. Place colander over bowl. Drain greens into colander and allow broth to collect in bowl.
  13. Place greens into serving dish.
  14. Do not discard that lovely broth and ham hocks! You can reuse ham hocks for another batch down the road. Simply cover the hocks with broth and freeze. I use mine twice. The remaining broth is amazing to drink, and we call that savory beverage "Pot Likker." It is delicious heated up and is said to have healing qualities, especially for arthritis. See below for storage instructions.

SUGGESTIONS

  • Keep collard green stems and repurpose as collard "green beans." Bring small saucepan of water to boil, add to water stems, and boil away for 5 - 10 minutes or until stems are tender like green beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Keep collard green broth/AKA Pot Likker. Store broth in storage container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. I like to drink the likker as a healing hot beverage, use it as a stock for soups, and use it in place of chicken stock in Seafood Risotto. Whatever you do, do not throw it away! It is healthy, full of collagen, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Serve atop warm Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread Cake a la Margaret Mitchell Special.
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