Collard Greens Recipe (2024)



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My Southern mama taught me to make a richer broth full of collagen--best pot likker--that gels when it's put in the refrigerator overnight. Put your smoked turkey legs, necks, or wings--your ham hocks or pork shanks, even a good chunk of smoked bacon like from Coursey's in Arkansas--into the water before you do anything else. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer. For hours. Until the bones are almost falling apart. Then continue on with the recipe. P.S. I throw a little seaweed in. Mama didn't.


This is very similar to what we served at the Empire Diner when I ran that kitchen. We used paper-thin slices of garlic in place of powdered, and chicken demi glace in place of Bouillon cubes.It is a soul satisfying meal.I can appreciate Barbara's feelings on cornbread, but as a son of Puerto Rican and Chinese parents, I much prefer rice as my starch for greens.My Asian & Latino kitchen staff agreed, and it was always an eagerly anticipated "Family Meal".

Shari Lindgren

Two things you will never hear a Southern lady say - (1) Your hair is too big and (2) Your greens are too done. Southerners like their greens too done and Collards wouldn’t be good unless they were. Btw, there is no reason not to use the stems, they give a better texture to the pot of greens.


To the cook musing about smoked mackerel, don't do it. Please. Southern collards are all all about seasoning the pot of greens with the fat and smokiness from ham hocks, smoked turkey necks or wings, a piece of animal with little edible meat but lots of salt and flavor when you boil them down. In a pinch I've done vegetarian greens with more olive oil, salt, garlic and smoked paprika. Not the same as traditional collards like this recipe, but much preferable to any fish.


As, someone from the south, that has eaten and made these all my life, just leave the fish out, it'll still be good without the meat, or maybe try bacon.


As a child of Low Country South Carolina there IS a law against not serving rice with this dish, plus it is also a serious sin! Rice every day, with just about every thing, keeps the doldrums away.


I prefer a smoked ham hock and more vinegar. I don’t use the onion and garlic powder, just chopped garlic and chunky slices of onion. Otherwise, this is pretty much my recipe for collards and everyone loves them. Sometimes I start with browning chopped bacon and then sautéing the veg. I’ll deglaze with a little vinegar. Using bacon as well as the hamhock ups the smokiness factor in the pot likker and tastes awesome with the cornbread.


You can certainly ignore the meat, but if you want the contrast of savory/chewy bits, roasted mushrooms, pressed and smoked tofu, or smoked seitan do nicely.


I don’t rip leaves from stems. Not sure why this is recommended. If the leaves in their entirety stew long enough they become tender, too. Just slice the leaves once or twice parallel to stem and then slice across the leaf in 1” segments.

Mary from Terry, MS

Southerner here. Add white vinegar and/or a lot of salt to the soaking water when you wash them; rinse with clean water until no grit remains. Use fresh garlic and some kind of smoked meat (bacon or smoked turkey are my favorites). Saute the onions and garlic before you add the chopped greens. Add a TBS or so of dark brown sugar when you add the vinegar. Cook for about 90 minutes. Greens are best if you mix collards, turnips and mustards together and serve them the next day.


I wouldn’t think of eating greens without having a bottle of Trappey’s peppers in vinegar on the table. (Although my Grandmother made her own from peppers she grew and cider vinegar from the apples picked out back.). We are lucky to live where we can always find smoked turkey - I prefer the meaty thigh - or smoked neck bones. Our housekeeper growing up would fill the bathtub with collard greens from the garden and lots of water and assign me the odious chore of getting them clean.


The acidity of the vinegar keeps the greens relatively crisp even for a long simmer! Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat has a great explanation.

Joan Y

Beth is correct! Make that flavorful broth first! That's what I always do too. And then cook the greens forever till they get silky. Yuuuuum.


Did not have or cannot eat parts of this, but miss it from a time we lived in the South. Substitutions: Lacinato kale, sauce pan-roasted sh*takes and soy/wheat 'bacon' for smokiness. Sherry vinegar and a little maple syrup, and followed the thin-sliced fresh garlic suggestion. Did boiled potatoes instead of rice or cornbread. Spouse appreciative.


I think some sort of smoked pork or sausage would work.


Having cooked collards countless times, I really didn’t think they could be improved, but this recipe is the bomb! I did skip the onion powder and garlic powder as well as the bouillon cubes as I thought that might be overkill. My wife, who has NEVER, gone back for seconds, did!

Made This Recipe For Years But I Double The Broth

This recipe is wonderful as is. I use a combo of smoked turkey wings & legs as a counterpart to the pork in the greens I make alongside these greens. But after years of making as written, I made a change this year because I like more potlikkar. To me, it's arguably the best part. I doubled everything but the greens and now to me, it's perfect.


I usually don't like "southern recipes" but this is fantastic.


Make it easy on yourself people! Try this:saute 1/2 cup onion, 1 Tbsp oil & 3 oz of beef chorizo in a pressure cooker for 3 minutes. Add 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth & 2 large bunches of prepared collard greens. SECURE lid. Pressure cook on high for 15-20 minutes . Serve with Umoboshi Plum Vinegar. It’s a New Year — Give it a try. It took me 50 years to find this recipe for collards — silky, spicy, super Fantastic!

Jacqueline Hand

I made this recipe without the meat and the collard greens were delicious. The perfect recipe to bring in the New Year 2024.


These collards turned out GREAT. I did what Beth suggested - minus seaweed. Very good recipe!


I like to add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar AND 1/2 cup of Sauvignon Blanc to the greens once they are in the pot. I'm also fortunate enough to be able to make good turkey stock from the remains of the delicious smoked turkey breasts my husband fixes for the holidays. Granted, the wine isn't necessarily a Southern tradition, but our foremothers incorporated all kinds of tasty additions to some of our favorites! Of course, the greens are tasty without the wine if the stock is well-flavored.


Lots of great ideas for making stock! I always add a bay leaf or two, a carrot, 1-2 stalks of celery, an onion, and a bit of salt.


I grew up in the South and always disliked collards cooked this way. I cook them in the microwave until just done, sometimes with onion, add apple cider vinegar and a little hot sauce and find they are delicious, even without salt and pepper. I omit the meat as I am vegetarian.


Regarding the comments about fish: I have to pipe in and say that the best compliment I ever received on my cooking came from my fireball Southern black friend Toi (also a helluva cook) who said I put my foot in my greens; high praise indeed. I told her that my secret ingredient is Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam) which I also use in lieu of salt in many Western dishes for a burst of umami totally undetectable as fish. Works great for sauteed broccoli and other veg as well. Toi was won over!

Pedantic Twit

The traditional condiment for collards (and other greens) is hot pepper vinegar. This is just a small shaker bottle filled with small peppers and white vinegar. There are several brands/products including Goya ('Hot Pickled Peppers'), Trappeys ('Hot Peppers in Vinegar'), Texas Pete ('Pepper Sauce'), and Louisiana ('Tobasco Peppers in Vinegar').Note that you just shake the vinegar over the greens; don't remove the peppers from the bottle. When the vinegar is gone, just fill it with more.


Really good. I didn't end up using any meat; I found smoked turkey parts in the store but the packages had more than I wanted to use and I have no use for extras. So, I just sauted the onion in some bacon grease with the EVO. Had it with rice as was recommended in lots of the Notes and it was just right. Best collard greens I've ever made.


Smoked Turkey tails are a must for mine. I buy them at many different chain groceries', or find them at a specialty butcher. They freeze well too. for the pot liquor, I use left over rotisseries broth and broth from cooking grilled chicken thighs. I put these away in a jar and keep in the fridge. Teo fat rises, and the collagen gels underneath. Use the fat and the gel to sauté the onion and garlic, then put in the turkey tail, greens and 1 cup water. Simmer until well cone.


I've experimented with adding apple cider along with the acv. It gives a richer sweetness than only using sugar. (I decrease the sugar going in when adding apple cider).


We used to have collards just on New Year's with black-eyed peas, cornbread and some kind of pork. Now we've added it to Thanksgiving, and it goes great with turkey, cornbread dressing and the rest. It's also a staple at many Southern barbecue joints. I can't think of a meal that isn't made better by great collards.

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Collard Greens Recipe (2024)
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