When folks think of the South, I imagine they’d think of Southern food – things like okra, cornbread, grits, sweet tea and collards! Those are all things that a true Southern cook should know how to prepare. Oddly enough though, I’ve found that many folks are scared of greens. Not only in preparing them, but eating them too. For me, collards are just about my favorite vegetable. I’ve been told that when I was little, I would turn down a bowl of ice cream for a bowl of collards and some cornbread. It’s funny too, because at the end of the season, my grandfather would harvest the remaining leaves and pull up the collard plants and I would take the plants and go plant them in the backyard only for them to grow more.
It’s true, I might have an obsession with the leafy green. In fact, I grew my own this year and was able to cook my first mess just this past weekend. Now for me, collards are not collards unless they are cooked with a smoked ham hock, bacon just won’t do it. And I don’t care a lick about collards that have sugar in them. Just not my thing.
Here is a SUPER easy way to make some of the best collard you’ve ever had. In the words of my great-grandmother, they might even make your tongue slap your brains out, so beware.
Let’s talk a little about what goes into this. You can certainly buy a bunch of collards at the farmers market or grocery store (and I urge everyone to do it at least one time) and cut and wash them yourself. You can also take the convenient way out and buy the pre-cut, pre-washed bagged kind too. If you’re interested in what a ham hock actually is click here. But I’d just advise you not to worry about all that and use it anyway. 🙂
- 2 bunches of collards, trimmed and thoroughly washed (or two bags of pre-cut, pre-washed variety)
- 3 quarts water
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 3 chicken bouillon cubes
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 garlic clove
- Combine water, ham hock, bouillon cubes, salt, and garlic in a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Carefully add collards.
- Cover and cook for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring every now and then, or until the collards are tender.