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Collard Greens

Posted by Denise on March 11, 2012

collard greens in fancy green bowl

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 family.

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!



Collard Greens




 collard greens ingredients



Makes 6 – 8 servings




thick slices of smoky bacon, chopped into rough ½” to ¾” pieces


Tablespoons olive oil or bacon grease


large onion, chopped into ¼ “ pieces


garlic cloves, minced


cup chicken broth, canned or homemade

1 ½

Tablespoons cider vinegar


cup water


teaspoons hot pepper flakes, optional


pound bag or one large bunch of collard greens, cleaned and chopped


Salt and pepper to taste





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.


chopping bacon   cooking bacon



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.


sauteing onion


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.

all liquid ingredients in pot


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 tender.

all greens in pot


5.     When 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!

 cooking greens down


6.     When 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 them.

collards in bowl with Tabasco sauce 


 collard greens in yellow bowl


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