Last night, I served up a mess of collard greens at my pal Norman's Easter dinner. It was a great crowd...including a Jew, a half Lebanese girl, a Russian gal straight from the gulag and shit, a Malaysian, a me, and a Southerner. It was all diverse and stuff.
Most of the folks in the room had never had greens before (let alone hamhocks). By the end of the night all that remained in the bowl was the skin of one of the hamhocks and there were calls for my recipe. Here it is.
This recipe will cook roughly a half stock pot full once full cooked and boiled down. It will comfortably feed four to six.
Brandon's Hell's Kitchen Collards
4 to 6 bunches of collard greens
1 red onion
1 to 2 jalapenos
Crushed red pepper
3 to 5 garlic cloves
4 smoked hamhocks or smoked turkey necks
Wash the collard greens and make sure there is no dirt and grit on them. Then, peel the leaf off the stock and away from the center stem. Discard the stalk and stem and set the leafy greens in your stock pot.
Once you have cleaned the greens and placed them in the pot, get your hands way down in there and tear the leaves into smaller pieces.
Add the hamhocks to the pot.
Dice the onion and garlic and jalapenos and place those in the pot as well.
Fill the pot with water leaving about an inch of room at the top of the pot. Then sprinkle in the salt, pepper, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper. If you like your greens hot...use more pepper...if not...use less. Same goes for the jalapeno.
Turn the greens on medium high heat and bring to a low boil. Cover them bad boys up and then let 'em percolate for the next four to six hours. The longer you let them cook, the better the flavor...when you taste the greens...and they melt like butter on your tongue...they are done man. If you are in a hurry, you can eat 'em after about four hours cooking time.
You can do all of this in a crock pot as well.
Also, from time to time add water to the pot--make sure the greens are always covered...and stir occassionally to make sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pot.
For good luck, make you some black eyed peas and rice and serve 'em up with the greens.
And there you have...when folks smack their lips together and are rubbin' their bellies...tell 'em Brandon sent ya.
(PS Using smoked turkey necks will take away none of the flavor--though the flavor will be slightly different--but it will cut down on the amount of fat in the dish. Both items are comparably priced.)
The cost of this meal is roughly $10-$12. If you use organic collard greens, the cost of the meal rises to about $20. I say....use conventionally grown collards and make sure you wash them well. It cuts the cost by a half to a third.
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