Collard Greens with Ham and Smoked Hock

I don’t know what I like better: the collard greens, the rich pot liquor or digging out the bits of smoky meat from the ham hock!

The Collard Greens recipe is from my good friend and fellow food blogger, Lisa Fain, who writes the blog, Homesick Texan. She’s a 7th generation Texan who moved to New York City for a job and one day found herself scouring the city in search of Ro-Tel tomatoes, the only brand of tomatoes fit for true Tex-Mex Chile Con Queso.

Of course, she couldn’t find any, and thus the Homesick Texan blog was born. Lisa has just come out with her very first cookbook, The Homesick Texan Cookbook.

It’s one of my favorite cookbooks this year – after no less than 4 trips to the Lone Star state this year alone – I’ve been craving Tex-Mex foods like crazy.

Even though Lisa lives 1,200 miles from me, I see her more often than friends down the street. Every trip to NYC is incomplete without sharing a meal with Lisa – we’ve done sushi, Jamaican, sushi and more sushi.

And those red cowboy boots she’s wearing? Only Lisa could be responsible for this.

collard greens recipe with ham and smoked hock

Lisa’s Collard Greens are simple. Throw in a couple handfuls of hearty smoked meats, add the collard greens, pour in water and apple cider vinegar and let it simmer for an hour and half or until the greens are as soft as you like them. Collard Greens are just as much about the simmering sauce as it is about the greens.

The savory, smoky, vitamin-rich pot-liquor is so full of rich flavor that you’ll savor every last drop. In fact, spoon your collard greens onto your plate, right next to the roasted garlic mashed potatoes on your plate. Forget the gravy – the pot liquor will find its way over and bleed into the soft mashed potatoes. I guarantee my kids will be forming a mashed potato moat, just so the pot liquor doesn’t escape.

Vegetarian version of Collard Greens? You bet. Lisa’s got a secret ingredient, one that actually made me say outloud, “No. Way. Really????”

How to make Collard Greens

Here’s whatcha need:

In goes the smoked ham hock into a large pot. One, two or three — depends on how many canine pets you have in the house.

Chopped smoked ham or turkey. Or both.

A couple of chopped tomatoes.

A glug of apple cider vinegar.

Just plain ‘ol regular water.

And then the greens.

Most likely, you’ll have to tamp down the greens with a wooden spoon….unless you have giantungus pot. Don’t worry, all the greens will eventually fit in. Cram ’em in! They don’t mind. Simmer for an hour and half, longer if you wish.



Collard Greens with Ham and Smoked Hock Recipe

Servings: serves 8 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Adapted from Lisa Fain,

You can use any combination of smoked meats - turkey, ham, ham hock or bacon. The easy choice for us, since we'll most likely have a couple of hungry dogs waiting for their special Thanksgiving treat, is the ham hock. You can find large bunches of collards starting in November, peaking in December. Bags of chopped collards are sold year round, which is what I used.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 smoked ham hocks
1 1/2 cups chopped smoked ham
5 cups water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 bunches of collards (about 2 pounds) or two 16oz bags chopped collards
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


1. Thoroughly clean each collard leaf, removing the tough stem and rib. Tear each leaf in half.

2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for another minute until fragrant.

3. Add in the tomatoes, ham hocks and ham. Pour in the water and apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer. Add in the collards, tamping down with a wooden spoon to get all of the greens in the pot. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

4. Season wtih 2 teaspoons of kosher or sea salt (use 1 teaspoons table salt) and black pepper. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. I used about 3 teaspoons of kosher salt. Don't be shy with the salt - remember, this recipe serves 8!

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Comments 28

  1. Lisa

    Collard greens and cowboy boots. You can’t lose with a winning combination like that! Thank you, Jaden–you just made my day!

  2. Chris

    “One, two or three — depends on how many canine pets you have in the house.”

    OMG, I LMAO over this line because we always save our pork butt and ham bones for our neighbors dogs.

  3. Shirley

    Greens are truly a staple here in the Lone Star State. Try it with a smoked turkey leg instead of the pork. Simmer the leg in some chicken stock and water for about an hour or so then throw in the greens. Pull the leg out, let it cool and take the meat off and throw it back in with the greens. You get a lot more meat than you would using a ham hock. Must have cornbread.

  4. [email protected] Want a Nap

    I wasn’t introduced to collard greens until I moved to the south. Since then I’ve really enjoyed them at potlucks and dinners with my in-laws but I’ve never actually made them. This looks so easy and so yummy I may have it a try.

  5. [email protected]

    This looks so delicious!!

  6. kentucky Lady 717

    If you haven’t made this, you don’t know what you are missing….with the turkey leg is much more healthy for you….and I cut out all the big stems from the collard greens too….much more than it shows here in this picture….and I’ve never put tomatoes in mine either….. never heard of this….maybe they do that in Texas…but in ky we don’t, but each to his own…..try them and make you some cornbread or either cornbread casserol that would go good with it too.

  7. noni

    Thanks for this method. This is not part of my culture AT ALL and I always wondered. I will look for small hocks, or maybe, I’ll have to use only ham and smoked turkey.

  8. kate blue

    I can cook and do love some greens, but I usually leave these to my twin sister who can “do em right” BUT since I am not gonna see her at Christmas, I’m gonna bookmark this and try it myself…wish me luck!

  9. Tom [DineMates]

    This is an awesome recipe! I’ve found that sometimes collard greens can be boring or spot on. For me the ham/pork is better than chicken or any other meat. This is definitely spot on with the veggies and pork giving it a great flavor.

  10. Calshondra Williams

    Looking at this picture takes me back. My grandmother and husband put the same ingred. in their greens. Yummy with some jalapeno cornbread muffins.

  11. Lee G

    This is a very interesting spin on cooking greens. I will give this a try on some cold snowy weekend in January. Yum Yum!!!

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  14. Thomas Laverdiere

    You should never, ever give a dog a cooked bone to chew on. Cooked bones are dried out and can splinter, get caught in their throats, or any part of their colon. Trust me, I didn’t know this fact and gave my dog a pork bone from a cooked pork butt. I had to bring her to the vet for x-rays and an overnight observation stay. It cost me $340.00.

  15. Jeff

    I came across this site while searching for recipes to use ham hocks. This looks terrific, so I’ll get some collards tomorrow to go with the other ingredients that I already have in my kitchen. Just wondering though…is this recipe usually for a side dish or a main entry? I suppose I could do either, but was just curious how you and others use it.

  16. Jeff

    I’ve tried turkey. I went back to ham hocks. You may not get as much but it tastes better in my opinion. One thing I agree with you on. The smoked meeat usually gets simething like a 45 min. start on the collards to make a flavorful stock. However, I have made this recipe as written and it is pretty darned good.

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