Here’s the honest truth…collards STINK when you cook them. Okay, I said it. And when I show you how to cook them, you’ll scratch your head, you’ll make an ick face, and you might even say ‘No way’. But as your mama told you…don’t knock it ’til you try it.
I really do like collard greens. I think they taste really yummy. I put hot sauce on them, my husband prefers just plain vinegar, and they taste somewhere between spinach and…hmmmm…well….maybe I’ll just say they are like a thick, salty spinach. This probably is not the right vegetable to force your 5 year old to eat, it is an acquired taste even for adults. Now that I’ve made them sound so appetizing, here’s how I make them.
First when you cut the leaves off of the plant, they are going to be dirty from being outdoors for a few months. To ensure they are extra super-duper clean, I wash them 3 times. First to rinse, then a good soak, drain, and soak again.
While washing the collards, pull the leaves off the stems. My hubby and his handsome hands volunteered for this job so that I could get a good photo of it. Then chop the greens into smaller pieces. I usually just roll them up together like a cigar and cut thick ribbons.
Meanwhile, boil 6 cups of water with 1/4 pound salted pork fat back for 45 minutes. I keep the chunks of fat back large because I remove them before serving. This flavors the cooking liquid but it does not make a very pretty photo.
Then place the washed greens in the pot and cook on medium-low heat for 1.5 hours.
The greens will get soft and absorb a lot of the “pot liquor”, the liquid in which the greens are cooking. A good southern meal is greens with cornbread, sopping up the liquor with the bread. But collards are also good as a side-dish, which is how we usually eat them. Serve them up and see what you think! Are you a Southerner? Can you say “y’all” and “fixin’ to”? Well then, you tell your mom ‘n ’em I say how she doin’, and take her home a mess o’ these greens. Enjoy y’all!