Collards with Ham Bone
Collards, the south's favorite green!
Southerners know there are many different ways to cook these beautiful greens. Some folks use a stewing method with plenty of liquid then dip cornbread into the delicious pot liquor. Others will boil them, drain off the liquid and fry them inside a cast iron skillet.
There are fresh collards, frozen collards and canned collards. In my opinion, there is nothing quite like the taste of fresh collards and I tend to favor these over all others; however, frozen collards can be delicious too! As for canned collards, I find them too mushy.
My daddy always planted collards in his fall / winter garden, so we cooked fresh collards and we always had enough to freeze for eating throughout the year. My mama would boil the collards for several hours with a few slices of fat back, salt and pepper. Once they were tender, she would drain off the excess liquid and throw them into a cast iron frying pan with fat back drippings.
I love my Mama’s collards and I could eat an entire pan of them by myself with a little vinegar poured over the top. Over the years, however, I have tried many different ways to cook collards and I really love having a little of the pot liquor with a slice of cornbread on the side.
You can definitely use frozen collards for this recipe and I have used frozen ones many times; however, frozen collards are sometimes full of stems. Collard stems can be very tough. If you are using fresh collards, you can control how much of the stem is included.
It is really not difficult to learn, but if you don’t know how to chop fresh collards, you may want to watch a Youtube video on the subject. There are some really great soul food videos on how to clean, chop, season and cook collards. If you don’t want to go through all the trouble, just purchase a few bags of frozen collards and roll on!
As for the meat used to flavor collards, that is another debatable topic. You can use fat back or salted pork, bacon, country ham, ham bone, smoked ham hocks, cured ham hocks, smoked neck bones, smoked turkey legs or wings, the list goes on. Collards will take on the flavor of the meat, so if you use smoked meats, they will have a smoky flavor.
I really love the saltiness of cured ham, so I use country ham bones for flavoring these collards. As the collards cook, the meat falls off of the bone and combines with the greens to create a down-home favorite! Just don’t forget the cornbread!
3 pounds chopped collards
1 – 12 oz ham bone (These are cured and can be found in the section of the grocery store near the country ham)
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons soul food seasoning
1 medium onion chopped
Combine all ingredients inside a large stock pot and cover with water.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.
Cook on medium for three hours or until the greens are very tender.
Serve with cornbread.