Collard greens are a very delicious way to add green vegetables
to your meals.
We have been a little lax on posting lately, which we do not
like to do, but I swear it is for a GREAT reason. My mom came to visit for the first time in two years! She
normally comes every year, but last year she had a surgical procedure done right before time for her trip and
couldn’t travel. She is in great form again and we had a terrific time touring half the state and doing fun things.
The really cool thing is that we also made some really great food, which I will share the recipes for in upcoming
posts. Meanwhile, we will start back off with a recipe Glenn and I came up with and tweaked repeatedly until we
were really happy with it.
A true Southerner has a collard greens recipe that has been
handed down in their family for generations. Some of us who are transplanted in the South from other regions of the
country are lucky enough to borrow parts of their recipes to develop our own, with a little help from the
sidelines. Our friends offered tips and hints as we tested our recipe.
When we first moved to Florida, I wanted no part of eating
collard greens. There were other green vegetables that I preferred, thank you very much! However, collard greens
are part of just about every barbeque or potluck dinner around here. It would be downright impolite not to try our
friend’s or coworker’s family collard greens recipe, so a dab of it here and there eaten to be polite eventually
resulted in the realization that collard greens can be really GOOD!
Like I said, it seems that everyone fixes it slightly
differently, so feel free to fool around with this recipe until you get it to where you like it best. That is part
of the fun of cooking, personalizing and making the food your own unique way to suit you and your
A couple of things to think about as you go about making your
own collard greens. Collards are grown in sandy soil, so naturally they are sandy when you get them freshly picked.
The leaves will need to be washed thoroughly to get all of the dirt and sand off, before you chop them up or you
will end up with a lot of grit in your teeth. Also, each of the leaves has a thick stem and center rib that is not
pleasant to eat. After cleaning the leaf, spread each leaf out on a cutting board and cut the green part away from
both sides of the stem and center vein. Then stack the green parts and chop them into large-ish pieces. Or do what
I do and find bags of fresh, already cleaned and chopped collards. Much easier and faster if you can find them. The
greens cook down a lot, so they won’t make as large a batch as it looks from the start.
For this batch of collards we used a nice, thick-cut apple
wood smoked bacon. Many people use smoked ham hocks, but we didn’t have ham hocks in the house and we had this
great bacon in the fridge…perfect. We normally use bacon anyway, and add the ham hocks, too, because we like our
collards to have plenty of meat flavor. Yum!
thick slices of
smoky bacon, chopped into rough ½” to ¾” pieces
oil or bacon grease
large onion, chopped
into ¼ “ pieces
cup chicken broth,
canned or homemade
teaspoons hot pepper
pound bag or one
large bunch of collard greens, cleaned and chopped
Salt and pepper to
1. Cook the chopped bacon in a large pot over medium heat
until browned, but not crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.
2. Drain off all but 3 tablespoons bacon grease or drain it all off and use
olive oil instead if you prefer. The bacon grease adds more flavor, however. Add the onion and
sauté for 5 minutes or so over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook
for another minute or so until the garlic is soft but not browned.
3. Add the chicken broth, cider vinegar, water, and hot
pepper flakes (if using) to the other ingredients in the pot.Bring the mixture to a simmer,
which is hot, but not boiling.
4. Add the
cooked bacon back to the pot. Add all of the chopped collard greens, packing them into the
pot using a spoon to push them down if necessary to get all the greens into the pot. Cover
the pot and simmer on medium low heat for 1 ½ to 2 hours until the greens are
greens are tender, add salt and pepper to taste. It may take more salt than you think it
will, but start off small, with one teaspoon, then add more if you need to. You can’t take it
back if you put in too much!
serving the collard greens, put a bottle of hot sauce and a bottle of cider vinegar on the
table, too. Many people like to add a dash of either or both to their greens when they eat