Growing up in the South means eating freshly-grown greens like collard, spinach, turnip, and mustard. I love all kinds of greens. My favorite greens are collard greens. There is something about these dark and thick leaves that warms my soul. They are rich in flavor and nutrients, and also have a rich history.
Collard greens are associated with West African cuisine. There are southern-style collard greens that are slow-cooked with bacon. The southern style was inherited from Africa and so are Brazilian-style collard greens.
Today, I will focus on the southern-style collard greens. It is a classic healthy side dish that features chopped collard greens, chicken broth, and crumbled bacon. If you like collards, you will love this collard greens recipe.
Cooking collard greens is not rocket science. All that you need is an easy recipe for cooking collard greens like this one.
What Are Collard Greens?
Collard greens belong to the cabbage family. It is easy to tell that because when you cook them they will smell like cabbage. Since they don’t have a compact head like that of a cabbage, they are classified as greens. That is also the same for mustard greens, turnip, and spinach. Collards have sturdy and large green leaves and thick, hearty stems.
Why Should You Prepare Collard Greens the Southern Way?
When people tell me they don’t love collards, I am usually curious to know the answer. My first question is usually: how did you prepare them? I have found that most people eat them raw or simmer or sauté them in water. That is the wrong way of preparing this precious dish.
The southern style of preparing collard greens is entirely different and makes collards very addictive. It ensures that collards are loaded with flavour. It is slightly vinegary, salty, smoky, and very savoury. The broth is rich and bold. The greens are quite tender after they have simmered in all the flavors.
What Are the Collard Greens Ingredients?
You only need affordable and simple ingredients to prepare this treasured dish. The flavor base will be created by onions, garlic, and bacon. The chicken broth will serve as braising liquid. To add a fiery element to the dish, you should add red pepper.
How to Prepare Collard Greens for Cooking
Collard greens are grown in the ground; therefore, they need a thorough wash before you can cook them. You can wash them whole or cut. For the most thorough clean, you should wash them after cutting. Remember to also rinse the knife and cutting board.
Start your preparations by removing the stem from the leaves using a knife. Cut the collards into two-inch pieces. It is recommended to fold or roll the collards to make the cutting easier and quicker.
After cutting the greens, wash them. Submerge them in water. Drain them and rinse again using running water.
How to Cook Collard Greens
Making a flavorful and tender pot of collards is easy. You will find the full recipe for collards greens below with step-by-step instructions. It is important to follow all instructions if you want a good result. Don’t ignore any detail.
The starting point is cooking bacon slices using a skillet until they become crisp. After that, remove them from the heat and crumble. Return the pan to the fire along with chopped garlic and onion.
How to Serve Collards
You can serve southern collard greens with any southern dish from country ham to fried chicken. We suggest serving them with cornbread and barbequed chicken. This is a down-home meal that will easily please everyone.
How to Freeze & Store Collard Greens
Before cooking, unwashed and fresh collards can be stored in the refrigerator for between four and five days. You can freeze them ahead of time, blanched collard greens will last for months in your freezer.
Change It Up
Do you want to substitute collards? Kale is a great substitute. If you can’t find collards in your area, you can use kale as an alternative. Collard greens are fantastic with Asian cuisine. You will find that collards and kale are similar greens.
For an Asian spin, reduce your salt because you will use salty sauce later. You will need ½ teaspoon grated ginger. After the collards are cooked, add ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 1 teaspoon tamari, and some teriyaki sauce.
- You can use more bacon for your collard greens recipe. Instead of using 3 slices of bacon you can use 6. It depends on your tastes and preferences. This recipe also works well with mustard greens and turnip greens.
Why should you eat collards? They are nutrient-rich vegetables. Dark green vegetables are rich in chlorophyll which has minerals and vitamins. Collards are also full of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins K, C, and A. including collard greens in your diet will lower cholesterol and aid digestion.