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Collard Greens That Had My GRANDMOTHER Asking For The Recipe
Collard greens are one of my favorite southern, soul food dishes. It makes an appearance at Sunday family dinners and just about every single holiday.
Normally my grandmother, who is known for her outstanding southern cooking that made a preacher cuss (but that's another story), makes the collard greens because everyone else is too scared to make them. For Thanksgiving this year we decided to give her a break from cooking and let each family bring a dish. Guess which dish I was in charge of? Yep, collard greens!
I was excited about preparing them. I always knew I made a mean pot of collard greens but nobody in my family had ever tasted them. I proudly brought my pot of collard greens and placed them on the Thanksgiving food table. They were gone in a matter of minutes! Everybody raved about how flavorful they were and nobody believed I made them. Even the kids were going back for more. I think I gave out this recipe over 10 times that day.
I felt so honored, but nothing made me feel more honored than what happened a week later. My grandmother called me on the phone and the first thing she said was "Tell me how you make those collard greens" I nearly hit the floor. The queen, no GOD, of southern, soul food cooking was asking little ol me for my recipe?! PRICELESS!! I can now die a happy, accomplished cook.
I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
Southern, Soul Food Collard Greens
The Secret on How To Prepare The Most Flavorful Pot Of Southern, Soul Food Collard Greens
- 1-2 bunches of collard greens
- 1 fully-cooked, smoked turkey leg or wing (can also use pork)
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
- 1/2 of white onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 3 cups of chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt, pepper, vinegar, hot sauce (optional)
- Remove the collard green leaf from the steams. Discard the stems.
- Wash the collard greens several times in cold, salted water to remove the dirt and grit. Tear collard greens into bite size pieces. Set aside.
- In a large pot, heat a Tablespoon of olive oil. Add in the chopped onions & garlic and sauté until tender.
- Pour in the chicken broth, red pepper flakes and smoked turkey leg. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer for about 10-20 minutes.
- Add in the collard greens. Cook on med-low heat for about 45-60 minutes or until tender. Do not boil the collard greens, let them steam cook.
- When done, season with pepper and hot sauce if desired.
- Serve the meat right alongside the collard greens and don't forget that you can drink the juice!
- Use chicken broth instead of water. Using chicken broth really kicks up the flavor of these smokey greens and makes the juices downright addictive!
- Let the meat cook in the broth before adding the greens. This allows the broth to become infused with the meat, onions, garlic and red pepper which will then infuse into the greens.
- Don't boil the greens no matter what you've heard. Cooking the greens on low and steaming them allows them to keep that gorgeous green color, preserves more nutrients and produces a tender leaf. Boiling can cause overcooking. Nobody wants to eat mushy greens.
- Although this recipe really doesn't need it, If you desire to season the greens with pepper, hot sauce or vinegar do so after it is done cooking and in individual bowls.
How to Prepare This Collard Greens Recipe From Start to Finish
Have you ever made collard greens?
Here's a Lil History on Southern Style Collard Greens
For centuries collard greens have been used and cooked. The southern way of preparing these collard greens was created by the African slaves who were brought to the southern colonies. Collard greens were not generally seen as "food" but the slaves needed a cheap way to satisfy their hunger and provide food for their families. Greens did not originally come from Africa, but the method of eating greens that were cooked down into a low gravy, and drinking the juices from the greens (known as pot likker") has it's African roots. During these times, slaves where given the scraps from the plantation kitchen which consisted of turnip tops, pigs feet & fat, vegetable peels and various other "inedible" items. They were forced to create meals from these leftover scraps and one of these creations were southern collard greens. Collard greens that were boiled low and slow with spices and a chunk of meat to give flavor.