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I picked my greens in the rain this morning all because of pot likker. There is nothing that seems more soul satisfying than a big pot of greens simmering on the stove, especially on a dark rainy day. The aroma of the greens is delightful, eating the greens is divine, but there is nothing that beats the pot likker. This nutrient rich soup is the product of greens that have been cooked with smoked meat. Southerners have been eating this for as long as there have been Southerners. Greens are grown abundantly in the cooler months and there’s always smoked meat or bacon drippings handy. Crumbled some Hot Water Cornbread into a bowl of pot likker and top it off with chopped sweet onions. This is an earthly reward for all the good things you’ve done in your life.
I picked my greens in the rain this morning. The Garvins are eating high on the hog today.
Trio of Mixed Greens
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 bunch each of collards, turnip greens and mustard greens which have been triple washed, trimmed and cut into ribbons. Keep the collards separate from the turnips and mustard as they need to be cooked the longest.
Smoked meat such as smoked turkey wings, ham hocks or ham bone
Salt and pepper to taste
Honey to taste
Make a stock out of the smoked meat. Place it in a stock pot and cover with water. Ham hocks need to cook for a good hour, at least, until they are tender. Turkey wings and ham bones only need to cook for about 30 minutes. After the smoked meat stock is ready, add chopped collard greens to the boiling stock and let them cook for 15 or 20 minutes. Next, add chopped mustard and turnips. 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!
Apron by L. A. Imprints, “Queen of the Kitchen”, was given to me by my son, Tyler, as a Christmas gift when he was 14 years old (bless his sweet little heart). He told his Dad that he also wanted to buy me a insta-read cooking thermometer because, “Mama’s been having trouble with her old thermometer.” My son knows me.