Collard greens is one of those foods you don’t like until you do. My story is that my lovely wife had to travel to Chicago for work and I had not been so I went along. We went to eat soul food at this total dive in the south side. The food was pretty good but the collard greens were just out of this world. Ever since, I have been on quest to replicate those greens and this is my rendition. This is a simple as a recipe gets but the results are incredible. At this point I would like to point out that if you don’t own a crock pot that there is something seriously wrong with your life and an intervention may be required.
- 2 bunches of collard greens
- 8 slices of bacon
- ham hock (smoked for extra yum)
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 0.5 tsp black pepper
- chicken stock (low sodium)
- Crock pot
- Wooden spoon
- Frying pan
Separate the leafs from the stem. I like to leave the leafy parts large but a lot of people seem to prefer them chopped. Either way is nice.
Wash those greens thoroughly. They often have dirt and little critters on them.
Cut the bacon into lardons and throw them into a frying pan. Cook the lardons until the fat renders.
Put drippings and lardons into the crock pot. The bottom should be well coated. Don’t be afraid to toss in a bit of extra bacon grease if it isn’t.
Throw the collard greens into the crock pot and place the ham hock on top of the greens. Sprinkle the salt and peper onto the mixture and top of the crock pot with chicken stock and water (the proportions are by taste; I like 3:1). If the greens aren’t submerged you are doing it wrong!
As you can see from the pictures, I had way too many greens for my crock pot but that’s alright. Just make sure nothing sticks to the sides during the cook.
Put the lid on that crock pot and set it to low. Set a timer for 6 hours.
Periodically check the crock pot. We want to make sure that we aren’t losing all our liquids. It is certainly ok to lose some but if they are mostly drained you need to add some more stock or water. What we are really trying to do here is to prevent ham hock or greens to dry cook on the side of the crock pot. You don’t want anything sticking to the sides.
When checking, try to do this without popping the lid. I have one of those transparent lids for my crock pot so that’s pretty handy. I do stir the mix once or twice throughout the process.
As time progresses your house should start smelling like a soul food restaurant :)
After 6 hours turn the crock pot to warm. Fish out the ham hock and discard the skin. Shred the ham and add it back to the crock pot and stir it up.
This time around I used chunks of ham hock and I just left them in crock pot.
The greens are ready to serve at this point. I really like to eat these with prime rib or a sous vide tri-tip (this recipe will follow later!).