Wednesday, April 20, 2005
My mother cooked 'greens' this way. No recipe , just add this and do that. I followed her direction and incorporated what I saw her do.
Collards, mustards or turnips. A combination of the three, two or just one. Cooking greens is very simple. Yes, simple ingredients: salt, pepper, garlic, onions, smoked meat, hot chile pepper (optional) and the greens. You can buy “greens” pre-washed, in bunches, frozen or if you’re like my mother, you have your own “Collard Tree” in the backyard.
2 - 3 medium smoked ham hocks or 2 pounds smoked pork neck bones or smoked turkey necks or smoked turkey wings. If vegetarian-eliminate meat and substitute ‘Liquid Smoke’ for flavor.
5 pounds of collards, mustards or turnips (several large bunches- washed to remove dirt)
2 cups chicken broth (Substitute with vegetable broth for vegetarian greens)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Chile pepper (optional)
2 or 3 smoked ham hocks and put them in a large pot of broth plus water (enough liquid to fill half the container). Greens will wilt and add liquid. Add garlic and onion (Chile optional). Bring the broth/water to a rolling boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Add more water as it boils down. The idea is to boil the ham hocks until they begin to fall apart. The flavor is in the smoked meat. You want the ham hocks to be falling apart before you add the ‘greens’.
Take the greens and separate the leaves (if fresh). If using fresh greens, rinse each leaf individually under cold running water. After you rinse the greens thoroughly, stack several leaves on top of each other. Roll these leaves together. Then slice the leaves into strips using a cutting board and large knife. Rolling them together speeds up the process as you are slicking through several leaves at once. Pre-washed and frozen greens are ready for use. No processing or washing needed.
Next, add the greens to the pot. Because this is lot of greens, you will need to add them until the pot is full. Allow them to wilt as they cook - then add more. Add your salt and pepper, cover and cook for thirty minutes on medium heat. You want the greens to be tender. If need to cook longer, taste every 15 minute until tender. Adjust seasoning to taste. Distribute the smoked meat evenly. Taste to confirm the ‘greens’ are the tenderness you prefer.
The green’s liquid/broth is called “Pot Liquor”. The southern way is to dip the corn bread in the ‘pot liquor’ and eat.