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.
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
Adapted from Lisa Fain, HomesickTexan.com
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.
Ingredients: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!