Collard Greens with Ham Hocks
I like my greens cooked in a simple fashion. Make a good stock from smoked meats; add the cleaned and trimmed greens, season with salt and pepper, add honey to cut the bitterness. Some people like to add onions and hot peppers to the cook pot. I prefer to sprinkle hot pepper vinegar on the cooked greens, instead. It’s just a matter of taste. You must pay special attention to washing them. They can be gritty and all it takes is a tiny amount of grit to ruin a whole pot of greens. Triple wash them and don’t cheat. If your greens are mature enough to have a large central vein, strip the greens off the vein before cooking. If you are lucky enough to have only young tender greens, you can skip that part.
1 to 2 bunches of collard greens which have been triple washed, trimmed and cut into ribbons.
2 good sized ham hocks
Salt and pepper to taste
Honey to taste
Make a stock out of the ham hocks. Place them in a stock pot and cover with water. Ham hocks need to cook for a good hour, at least, until they are tender. After the smoked meat stock is ready, add chopped collard greens to the boiling stock and let them cook for 15 or 20 minutes. Don’t be afraid that your greens are going to vanish completely. They cook down a lot! Once they have cooked down, taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly with salt, pepper and honey. Let them continue to cook to your liking. Taste often for seasoning. You can remove the smoked meats, debone and chop the meat and add back to the pot before serving. Serve as a main dish or a side dish. Don’t forget cornbread and hot pepper sauce!