If I can make collard greens, you can too! Simple Southern Collard Greens are loaded with cabbage, thick-cut bacon, and spiced up just right.
Growing up in the south, I’ve seen my fair share of greens on the table for the holidays, and the random weekend dinner table. Being a super picky eater, I never touched anything green growing up. Even if I would have eaten green beans or peas, I’m not sure I would have even tried collard greens, because let’s face it, they don’t look kid friendly!
This was the first year that we weren’t at my brothers house for New Years, so this was the first year that I wouldn’t see collard greens, black eyed peas, and hog jowl on the table. I knew that in order for us to have good luck this year that I had to try and make all of these things…things that I don’t eat, except for the hog jowl. Yikes! As scary as it sounded, I had Zack here to taste test it all! Hehehe. He loves those things, and I knew that he could tell me if things were cooked enough, right, etc. He was a wonderful taste tester, and these Simple Southern Collard Greens were so good….he didn’t have to add hot sauce! And, I think that’s a big deal.
Since I don’t have my mother around to tell me/teach me how to cook these, and my daddy was only here for Christmas, this was something I was going to have to search out on the internet. I found literally hundreds of recipes that all do something a little different, but mostly with one thing in common….you have to cook these forever to get them to taste good. Well, I watched Top Chef recently and saw where one of the chef’s had chosen to cook collards, and she only had an hour. Oh, and no, she didn’t use a pressure cooker. I knew that I wanted to try and cook them however she did. Only problem is, I didn’t remember how she did it. Ugh, I loathe my awful short term memory.
Anyway. I found a recipe that I wanted to use as a base and work from there. Of course I chose the recipe from Mandy at South Your Mouth as my base, because hello, she’s from the south! I knew that if anyone could make collard greens the correct way, it would be here.
I then added what I remember my mother adding, cabbage. She did this to help with the bitterness, I think?? At least that is what I remember someone saying years and years ago. Long term memory, good. Short term memory, bad. Haha.
So cabbage, bacon, lot’s of hog jowl grease, and collard greens; plus a little spice. So here is my Simple Southern Collard Green recipe.
Simple Southern Collard Greens
- 1 16 oz bag collard greens - fresh
- half a small head of cabbage thinly sliced
- 5 strips thick-cut bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons hog jowl grease or bacon
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- chicken stock - amount will vary and you may not even need any at all
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large deep pan, with a lid, cook bacon over medium to high heat.
Add 1/4 bag of the collards and 1/4 of the cabbage. Cook, until the collards have wilted down - tossing in the grease from the bacon. Add more collards and cabbage, tossing in the grease, adding the 4 tablespoons of grease from the hog jowl or bacon, continuing until all of the collards and cabbage have been added to the pan.
Reduce the heat to low and cook for an hour, stirring occasionally.
At all times you want about 1/4 cup of liquid in the bottom of your pan. This is where the chicken stock will come in.Your collards and cabbage may give off enough liquid, and you won't need the stock. I only had to add stock once, and that was in the middle of my cooking time.
At the one hour mark, check your collards, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the vinegar and red pepper flakes.
Depending on your tastes, you may choose to cook longer than an hour. We were happy with them at this point.
If you find that the collards are a bit too bitter, feel free to add sugar. My mother used to add sugar, but I'm not sure how much. Go with your taste buds!