Collard greens are a staple of Southern cuisine, often prepared by simmering slowly with pork jowl bacon to achieve a rich, smoky flavor. Derived from the jowls or cheeks of a pig, pork jowl bacon is similar in flavor to streaky bacon but is extremely fatty and possesses a silky smooth texture that melts in your mouth. Serve these fantastic pork and greens with fried chicken and corn bread for a complete and comforting Southern meal.
Heat a large pot to a medium-high heat. Chop the pork jowl bacon into small pieces and add to the pot. If desired, you can also slice up an onion and add it at the same time.
Saute the pork jowl bacon for approximately 5 minutes, or until the edges begin to get brown and crispy. If adding onion, saute it along with the pork jowl bacon.
Add a quart or two of water or chicken stock to the pot; the amount of liquid you will need depends on how much collard greens you intend to cook. The collard greens should be completely submerged when added.
Add seasonings, if desired. Garlic cloves, salt and dried chili peppers are common additions. If you'd like to strengthen the pork jowl bacon flavor in the broth, simmer, covered, for an hour. Otherwise, add the collard greens at the same time as the seasonings, cover and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender.
Fish the collard greens out of the pot with a slotted spoon, letting the excess water drain off. Serve immediately with vinegar and hot sauce.
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- You can substitute chard, kale, turnip or mustard greens in lieu of collard greens; if you use a substitution, reduce the cooking time to 30 minutes as they take less time than collard greens to cook.
- You can substitute ham hocks for pork jowl bacon.
- You can reuse the liquid the pork jowl bacon and collard greens were cooked in to make flavorful soups or stews.
- Thoroughly wash collard greens to remove any dirt or grit before cooking.
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