Southern Style Mess o’ Greens

cooked-collards-1

Southerners cherish their collard greens and my grandmother was no exception. A Georgia girl who never forgot her Southern roots, she routinely had a “mess o’ greens” slowly simmering on the back of her stove and a skillet of cornbread baking in the oven during the winter months. Collards and cornbread dipped in the concentrated, vitamin rich pot juices was one of her favorite dinners. She claimed collards were her “winter tonic” and the best time to eat them was after a frost, which “sweetened” them.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch collard greens
2 smoked ham hocks
5 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

Wash greens thoroughly, approximately 3 or 4 times to ensure they are clean and free of insects. Tear each leaf from the thick center stems; discard stems. Set aside.

In a large pot, place ham hocks and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Add prepared collard greens, white vinegar, salt and pepper. Simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender, stirring once after 30 minutes. (Add a little more water if necessary, at this point.) When done, taste for seasoning and adjust.

Remove from heat and drain collards, reserving the broth. Dress the greens with a splash of vinegar and some of the reserved juices.

VARIATIONS:

  • Add a tablespoon of hot sauce
  • Add minced onion, as desired