Collard Greens Recipe (2024)

This collard greens recipe is the perfect quick and healthy side dish that I am sure you and your family will fall in love with.

Collard Greens Recipe (1)

Last week I promised to give you my recipe for the best collard greens that the world has ever known. I'd like to take credit for this recipe, but actually, it came from my mother, Sarah Windham.

I've never had a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without collard greens. That's just how we eat at Windham's Crossroads. So here goes.

The first step is selecting your collards. We are fortunate that we can just go out into our garden and cut some.

What you need

Lucy came out to help. If you don't have a garden, I suggest that you buy your collards at your local farmer's market. You may even find a farmer selling collards out of the back of his pickup truck by the side of the road. If you see that, pull over. At the last resort, you can buy them in a bag at your grocery store, but I never have.

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Lucy and I cut two bunches this morning after our very first substantial frost last night. I've always heard that collards are best after a frost. I'm here to tell you that I cooked some last week that were very good, but not nearly as good as the ones that have been touched by frost.

How to make Collard Greens Recipe

Step 1

The first thing I do is to de-stem the leaves. I remember going to a gourmet restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. I ordered some collard greens as a side dish, and the waiter brought a green glob of something with huge stems in it. I called the waiter over and said, "The chef ain't from around here, is he?" Oh well, I digress.

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I usually do this outside at the picnic table. Using a paring knife, I make a cut on each side of the stem.

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You can throw away the stems, but I put mine in our compost bin.

Step 2

Then I hand the de-stemmed leaves to Jane. She takes them into the house and puts them into the sink.

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She rinses them with cool water. Our collards are clean, but sometimes you will need to wash them twice to remove all sand or grit.

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Step 3

Now take 4 or 5 leaves and stack them together. Roll them up like you're making a big, fat cigar.

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Rolling the leaves speeds up the process of cutting the collards.

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Step 4

Cut the roll every ½ inch, giving you strips of collards.

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Step 5

Now get out your largest pot. I use a 10 quart pot. You are going to need something to season the collard greens.

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I use fatback (sometimes called salt pork.) Some folks use a smoked ham hock, others use bacon. Once when I was dieting, I used a beef bouillon cube (I won't do that again!)

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Step 6

Put about 4 or 5 slices of fatback in the bottom of the pot. You need to render some of the fat out of the fatback by cooking it for a few minutes on high. Leaving the strips in, fill the pot about half full of water.

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Step 7

Bring the water to a boil and add some of the collards to the pot. You won't be able to get all the greens into the pot at one time. Let them cook down a bit and add some more.

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Keep pushing them down into the liquid until they are all in the pot.

Step 8

Add salt, black pepper, and garlic salt to taste. Continue to boil for about 30 minutes, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 1 ½ hours.

How do you know when they are done? Pull out a strip and taste it. It should be tender and taste good!

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Step 9

Put them into a colander and let them drain. Cooked collards won't win any beauty contests! Remove and dispose of the fatback.

By now your whole house smells like cooked collards. Some people don't like that smell, but I do. Smells like home to me.

While they are draining, get out a large frying pan. Do not use a nonstick pan because you will be cutting the collards in the pan.

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Fry a half pound of bacon. Remove the bacon, and put the collards into the pan with the bacon grease. Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of sugar onto the collards.

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Step 10

Cut the collards into smaller pieces in a criss-cross fashion. Don't get lazy here. You need to cut them thoroughly. Let the collards cook until all the water has evaporated. Be careful not to burn the collards, and stir them occasionally. When all the water is gone, they are ready.

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To serve, put the collards in a bowl and crumble the bacon on top.

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After they've been plated (I heard that term on Food Network) add a touch of vinegar to enhance the flavor. I prefer to use homemade hot pepper vinegar. What do you serve with collards? Tonight we had country ribs and rice and a baked sweet potato. That's about as Southern as it gets. When you look at a plate like that, it makes your tongue slap your brains out trying to get to it. Now that's good eating!

Collard Greens Recipe (2024)


What takes the bitterness out of collards? ›

The foods that help reduce bitterness are: Salt while cooking and/or while eating (like on bitter salad greens) Sweet or Spicy. Sour or Acids like lemon or vinegar.

What does adding vinegar to collard greens do? ›

When vinegar is added to collard greens, it helps to break down some of the tough fibers in the greens and tenderize them. Additionally, the acidity in the vinegar can help to enhance the flavors of other ingredients in the dish, such as onions, garlic, and smoked meats.

How many pounds of collard greens do you need to feed 50 people? ›

Pour 3 quarts (about 5 pounds 1 ounce) collard greens into a steam table pan (12" x 20" x 2½"). For 25 servings, use 1 pan. For 50 servings, use 2 pans.

Why put baking soda in collard greens? ›

Baking soda has infinite uses in cooking and beyond: It's a leavening agent, an odor neutralizer, and an antacid to name a few. In the case of collard greens, baking soda's utility is threefold, serving as a flavor enhancer, a tenderizer, and a color protector.

What can I add to reduce bitterness? ›

Sweetness: From sugar, honey, fruits or otherwise, sweetness will counteract bitter and sour flavours. It can also be used to cut down the heat of a particularly spicy meal. Saltiness: Salt plays two very important roles in flavouring a dish. Firstly, it balances against bitterness.

What can I put on my greens to make them taste better? ›

Onion- Yellow onions will add flavor to the greens. Garlic– Garlic will compliment the flavor of the onion and greens. Red Pepper Flakes– Red Pepper flakes will add some slight heat to the greens. Fully-Cooked Smoked Turkey Leg- This is the best alternative for those who prefer not to use pork.

What can I add to greens to make it taste better? ›

15 Ways to Make Super Greens Powder Taste Better
  1. Try Different Greens Powder Bases. Super greens powders dissolve and mix well with juice, tea, smoothies, almond milk, and more. ...
  2. Mix with Soup. ...
  3. Add to Hummus or Pesto. ...
  4. Blend in a Smoothie. ...
  5. Mix in Oatmeal. ...
  6. Combine with Breakfast. ...
  7. Bake a Treat. ...
  8. Use Natural Sweeteners.
Jun 7, 2022

How long should green be cooked? ›

Boiling: For most greens, such as collard, turnip or mustard greens, it takes about 6-10 minutes to boil them. Steaming: For greens such as kale, spinach, or chard, it takes about 3-5 minutes to steam them. Sautéing: For greens such as kale, spinach, or chard, it takes about 2-3 minutes to sauté them.

What makes collard greens good? ›

Rich in dietary fiber and potassium, collard greens help enhance good HDL levels and diminish bad LDL cholesterols, averting plaque and fatty deposits in heart vessels and improving cardiac muscle function and heart health. Boosts Gut Health.

What is the best meat for collard greens? ›

The most authentic collard greens, in my opinion, are made with smoked ham hocks or bacon. But, as time has passed, society has gotten more health conscious. So, many families began using alternatives such as smoked turkey necks, wings, and tails.

Why does collard greens take so long to cook? ›

Long cooking time.

Slowly cooking collard greens not only softens the tough leaves, it also tames the leaves' bitter flavor.

How many bunches of collard greens for 10 people? ›

Collard greens cook down a tremendous amount, so if you're looking to feed a large group, buy at least 2 large bunches for this recipe, which depending on the size of the bunches, will feed 6-8 people, or more.

How much water do collards need? ›

Collards do best with an even supply of water. Be sure to give them 1 to 1.5 inches of water weekly. Collards are fast growers and producers, so it's essential to feed them regularly with a water-soluble plant food. Add a 3-inch layer of mulch made from organic material to keep soil moist and prevent weeds.

How do you sweeten bitter greens? ›

Here's the thing with bitter greens: You want to tame their bitterness, not eradicate it. Your secret weapon: salt. Although sugar may seem like a natural antidote, your taste buds won't think so. Try this: Sprinkle a bitter green like radicchio or endive with sugar and eat it.

Can you cook out bitterness? ›

All bitter greens and cabbage varieties will become sweet if you cook them long enough. Braising or stewing is usually the way to go. Endive develops a savory/sweet flavor through braising; it's delicious and pretty easy to prepare.

Can you use apple cider vinegar in collard greens? ›

Don't forget to add apple cider vinegar to the broth. This might seem like an unusual addition if you're new to making collard greens, but the vinegar adds a welcome tangy note that brightens the dish and balances out the salty, savory flavors.

Are collard greens always bitter? ›

Raw collard greens are bitter, but not quite as bitter as kale. Heat mellows the flavor a bit and brings out a subtle earthiness. You can buy collard greens all year, but they taste best in the cooler months.

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