Greens are a southern staple. Collard, turnip, and mustard greens can be found on menus everywhere, and gardens in the south are bursting with them. Once on your plate, the greens can be doused with a splash of "pepper sauce," which is just hot peppers soaked in vinegar.
For this recipe, I like to use apple cider vinegar, hot pepper flakes, and a bit of honey to build flavor into the greens. If I am missing that smoky flavor of the ham hocks, I will use hickory balsamic. Good balsamic vinegars are thick, so just make sure to reduce the vinegar amount to a splash and increase the water if you go this route. I also like playing around with hickory and applewood smoked salts, but regular salt works just fine as well.
I currently have a lot of black kale (Lacinato) and dwarf collards in my garden, so I mixed these together for this batch. Collards are delicious by themselves or with kale, but I don't like mixing them with mustard or turnip greens. Mustard and turnip greens do mix very well together, however, and are also tasty enough on their own.
- Greens (a couple bundles of store bought, or at least 1/4 a sink full from the garden)
- 1/2 medium size yellow onion (diced)
- 1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (or sugar)
- 1 cup water
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more!)
- 2 teaspoons salt (if using smoked salt, use one teaspoon regular and one smoked)
Start by washing the greens well. I put them in the sink and dunk them around a bit in some water to get all the dirt off.
Heat a Dutch oven on medium high, then add oil and diced onions. Cook for a few minutes until they start to turn a bit translucent.
You can add more water if needed, but if you stir and turn the greens as you go they will wilt down quickly. Once they are all in, stir in honey and cook for another 10-20 minutes on medium. The cook time will depend on the amount of greens and the variety - collards and kales are tougher and will take longer to soften than mustard or turnip greens. Just keep simmering them until they reach the texture that you prefer.
Greens go well with a plethora of meals! The juice left in the pot after cooking is referred to in the south as "pot liquor," and I especially recommend dunking a slice of cornbread in it!