These Southern greens with ham hocks are coaxed to enticingness by slowly simmering sturdy greens such as collards, kale, chard, and mustard greens with ham hocks or bacon, onions, and spices until meltingly tender.
These Southern greens with ham hocks are slowly simmered in a spice-infused pot liquor until meltingly tender. Come to understand why they’re such a Southern staple.–Angie Zoobkoff
Southern Greens with Ham Hocks
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 1 H, 45 M
- Serves 8
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Recipe Testers Reviews
I made this as a side for Thanksgiving Day dinner, but this dish will work well any time you want to add a bit of Southern flair to your menu. The ham hock (or any type of smoked ham that you choose to use) adds a bit of smokiness and the cayenne a hint of heat.
I used a combination of collards, kale, rainbow chard, and beet greens. They started out as tough and leathery but in about an hour were deliciously tender. I made 1 1/2 times the recipe, which nicely served my crowd of 13 with a small amount for leftovers.
There was quite a bit of broth at the end of the cooking period and so I removed about 2 cups which I saved with some of the greens and ham bits for a delicious lunch.
The smell of these greens slow-cooking on the stove with a smoked ham hock really brought me back to my grandmother's kitchen in Mississippi. When we gathered around her table for a Sunday supper, there was always a pot of greens on the menu accompanied by a jar of homemade pepper sauce. Something about this specific smell is both super comforting and inviting!
That's what initially drew me to this recipe--the familiarity and also the intriguing mixture of spices. Not just seasoned with salt and pepper, these greens are cooked in a fragrant mixture of paprika, dry mustard, a pinch of cayenne, crushed red peppers, garlic, and tomato paste, all of which flavor the greens themselves, but also the beloved pot liquor. I let my greens cook at a low simmer for 1 1/2 hours--the longer the better, I think. They were perfectly wilted and flavored at this point, and the liquid was perfect for dipping as well.
I designed our dinner menu around these greens as a side dish and served them with cornbread and a Creole seafood court-bouillon over white rice.
For this amount of greens to wilt and melt into liquid, I really think you need between 6 to 8 cups of water. (Especially if you want pot liquor to dip bread into.)
I like the addition of the vinegar at the end of cooking; I would actually add a touch more than the recommended 1 tablespoon, maybe 2 tablespoons for this amount of greens. I would also highly recommend serving them with pepper sauce for drizzling to be added at your own discretion as you eat!