Collard greens are a member of the Brassica family. Closely related to kale and mustard greens. Peak season is January through April. Available in the produce section of most grocery stores and Farmers Markets. Many believe eating collards on New Year’s Day will attract “paper money” all year.
These tender collards are well seasoned. If desired, cook longer and add more seasonings. Good to the last bite. Sometimes, I’ll cook and refrigerate over night in a lidded container to allow collards to marinate in the seasonings. This makes them taste better the next day.
Most fresh collards are slightly bitter. I fix that issue with two tablespoons of sugar. If you prefer a sweeter taste, add more. Enjoy!
Fresh Collard Greens
Recipe and photography by Beverly Davis for CornbreadMillionaire.com.
Cut stalks off end of each bunch. Tear or thick stalks off each leaf. Discard stalks. Thoroughly wash leaves in a clean sink filled with warm salt water. Drain water. Thoroughly rinse in clear warm water. Repeat. This will remove debris, pesticide, and microscopic bugs from each leaf.
Stack 5 leaves together. Roll lengthwise. Cut vertically and horizontally into bite-sized pieces. Repeat until all leaves are cut. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, add ham hock (or preferred meat). Add bacon drippings OR olive oil, sugar (if using), 3 tablespoons of Liquid Smoke, and collards. Cover with water. Simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes OR until desired tenderness. WHEN the water drops below greens, cover with hot water. Continue cooking.
Season with preferred amount of salt and ground black pepper. Add remaining 3 tablespoons of Liquid Smoke. Mix well. Simmer 10 more minutes.
Serve warm or hot with a dash of pepper sauce (optional).