I think folks who don’t profess to love collard greens may not be giving them the long, low-and-slow cooking time they deserve. Because truly good collards take a bit of patience. Give ’em an hour in the pot to braise in homemade stock and become oh-so-tender, and you’ll be a collard convert in no time.
For this recipe, you can cook up some bacon or salt pork in the beginning, use the drippings in place of the filtered bacon grease, and then toss back in the crisp, cooked bacon/pork at the end. Every time we cook bacon, we like to use a simple setup of a coffee filter over a mason jar to filter the grease, and then keep it chilled in the fridge to use later in recipes such as this one. For a vegetarian version, use your favorite cooking oil in place of the bacon grease and swap in vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
- About 10 large collard leaves, or 15 small to medium leaves
- 2 tablespoons filtered bacon grease
- About 1/2 cup alliums, chopped (use onion, shallot, or a combo)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (or a few diced garlic scapes, or both!)
- 2 cups unsalted chicken stock or broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup vinegar, such as red wine vinegar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce
Wash greens and then remove the thick center ribs. Cut leaves into about 1-inch ribbons. You can “roll” the leaves first to make them even easier to chop.
Melt bacon grease over medium heat in a big pot or a large, deep skillet. Add in onions and/or shallots and garlic, and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the stock, greens, salt, sugar and pepper to the pot. Stir gently for a few minutes until the stock warms up and the greens begin to wilt down. Cover the pot, turn down to medium-low, and let cook for 45 minutes to an hour. (Yes, that long!) Remove lid, turn up heat to medium-high, add vinegar and hot sauce, and cook for a few minutes more to combine well. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm. (Works well to use a big slotted spoon if serving directly from the pot.) Enjoy!