Southern-Style Collard Greens

Collard greens with meat

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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
68 Calories
1g Fat
11g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 68
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 854mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Protein 5g
Calcium 290mg 22%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Collard greens, a Southern staple, are related to cabbage and kale and are used in many international cuisines, including Portuguese, West African, and Brazilian

Southern collard greens are typically cooked with some smoked pork. This recipe calls for a large ham hock or two small hocks, but a meaty ham bone, 6 to 8 strips of bacon, or about 1/4 pound of salt pork can be substituted. Alternatively, smoked turkey legs or wings are often used to season Southern greens. Feel free to add 1/2 cup of leftover diced cooked ham to the collard greens if you have it.

Like many other kinds of greens, sand and grit can cling to the leaves. It's important to wash the greens thoroughly. There's nothing worse than gritty greens! Even if the greens claim to have been washed, give them another rinse to be certain they are dirt-free. 

Southern greens are traditionally served with some of the cooking liquids, or "pot likker." Freshly baked cornbread or cornbread muffins are essential for sopping up the delicious juices, and pepper vinegar sauce is often drizzled over the greens. Add some sliced garden-fresh tomatoes alongside the greens for a delicious lunch or dinner dish. 


Steps to Make It

  1. Fill the sink or a large pot or dishpan with water. Add the greens and swish them around. Drain and repeat a few more times, or until you can't feel any grit in the bottom of the sink or pan. 

  2. Cut the stems out of the leaves. Discard the stems or chop them if you plan to cook them along with the leaves. The stems can be frozen and used to make stock as well. Stack the leaves and roll them up like a cigar. Slice them into 1/2-inch strips.

  3. Place the greens in a large stockpot or Dutch oven

  4. Rinse the ham hock and pat dry; add it to the pot with the greens. 

  5. Peel the onion and chop it or slice it. Add it to the pot along with the crushed red pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.

  6. Add enough water to the pot to cover the collard greens and cook for about 1 hour, or until the greens are very tender. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed.