Collard Greens

December 30, 2013

Deliciously smoky and slightly sweet, these collard greens were so yummy.  Tender, buttery and hearty, you could eat them all by themselves.
While the health benefits are endless from eating these hearty greens, I'm not sure how healthy they are after what I put in them!  Oh well, its not like your eating them everyday....but I could, they're that good!!
Also, they were a bit time consuming.  To get that tender, buttery texture, you have to cook them a LONG time....but you could easily transfer them to a crock pot once your ready to put the lid on and walk away.
Here goes....
1st up and most important ingredient (as always), you need bacon and lots of it.  Since this was the 1st time making these, I wasn't sure just how much bacon I would need.  I started with 1/2 pound, but one could argue that you could easily use a full pound!  Some recipes call for a ham hock or smoked ham bone, I didn't have that (I used that for soup last week!), anyway, you need bacon.  Chop it up and get it rendering.  Once it gets close to crispy, take some of it out and set aside for topping.
You want to keep ALL that bacon fat in the pan (for real), then throw some onions and garlic in.  Saute those for a few minutes until the onions get nice and lightly golden.  I used a sweet onion, which in the end was a good choice.  I tell ya, there is no other better smell than bacon, onions and garlic having a party in a pan!
Now, I'm not a spicy kind of girl, but I do like a little kick.  I used Louisiana Hot Sauce for these, I thought it was fitting since I do live in the south and we are making collard greens.  A little brown sugar and some apple cider vinegar.  Collard greens can be a bit bitter, so the brown sugar and vinegar will help them balance that out.  You want to add your stock now (put the lid on too) and let it come to a low boil.  I even happened to have some home made stock from an old ham bone, yes I'm one of those that makes my own stock, I cant help it, its so much better!   By this point, I was salivating.....time to finish prepping the greens.
These collard greens were so beautiful!  The whole bunch was probably about 2 pounds.  You want to make sure they're nice and clean and remove the tough stems.  It was easier for me to wash them all, lay them flat on paper towels, then take a few leaves at a time and cut the stems, then lay them on top of each other.  Once you have about 4 of them stacked, roll them up and cut them in strips and place in a bowl until you have them all ready.
I eventually started stacking them :)
Next, your bacon and onions should be slowly boiling.  Toss in your greens and combine with all that heavenly mouth watering bacon-ness.  Lid goes back on, lower to a simmer and let 'em cook for a couple hours.  This is where you could transfer to the crock pot and just keep it on low for a few hours.
Toss some of that crispy bacon you saved in the beginning on top of these babies and get to eating!
I served these with black eyed peas and chicken courdon bleu, I know, sounds a little funny, but hey chicken stuffed with ham and cheese can go with anything!
Here's your recipe:
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time: 2 hours Difficulty: Easy  Servings:  6
1/2 pound bacon
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar 
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 1/2 cups stock
2 pounds collard greens
Heat a large stock pot on medium high heat.  Chop bacon into small pieces and toss into stock pot and begin to render it down. Once bacon is slightly crispy, remove about 1/4 of it and set aside.
Add chopped onions and garlic to bacon (leave all that bacon fat in there!) and saute those for a few minutes until the onions start to get lightly golden.
Next, your going to add the brown sugar, vinegar and hot sauce, incorporating it into the onions and garlic well.
Pour in your stock, bring to a low boil and put the lid on.
To prep your greens, wash them well and place them on paper towels.  Remove the tough stems and place leaves in stacks of 4, rolling the stacks up and slicing them.  Place those into a bowl and continue until the whole bunch is done.
Once your greens are ready, mix them into the bacon and onions.  Be sure to get them mixed in well.  They will wilt pretty quickly.
Put the lid on, lower heat to a simmer and let them cook for about 2 hours, stirring a couple of times in between.
To serve, use a slotted spoon, there will still be some liquid in there, place in a large bowl and sprinkle that crispy bacon you saved earlier on top.
They'll be tender, buttery and delicious!  Enjoy!

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