If my mother could see me now, eating my greens and enjoying them. She would be so proud. OK, so that’s a little misleading, but when I was younger I wasn’t that fond of vegetables, at least, not of most of them. Luckily for me I grew up, and now I love my veggies. And then I moved to the south and was introduced to Collard Greens, and I fell head over heels in love with them. I never understood the term ‘pot likker’, but now I do, and I happily douse my cornbread in it and then lick the bowl.
Well, I would if no one was looking.
Luckily for me Robin taught me how to make it, the real southern way, when we were cooking at the Senior center this year. Robin took the mystery out of it. And since I had a nice ham bone in the freezer and some frozen collard greens and I was craving some ‘greens’ I made me up a pot. And let me tell you, it was hard to wait til it cooked down enough to eat. I also made some cornbread to go with it, cause ya can’t have greens without cornbread.
To start with, stick a nice meaty ham bone or some smoked ham hocks into a pot
and then put a couple of packages of frozen collard greens in with them. Pour in enough chicken stock to cover it all, and add some red pepper flakes to that. I used about a half teaspoon and then added a little more after it had cooked down some. I also added a couple of garlic cloves, sliced up a little. Garlic is good food as well.
I like my greens on the hot side, in more ways than one. Put the lid on it and let it simmer for 2 hours. YUP, two hours. And let me tell you it was hard to wait. Really it was. You can simmer it a little longer if you like, I was hungry so I did it the bare minimum.
I made a batch of cornbread, the right way, no sugar added, but I did cheat and add some yoghurt cause I was out of buttermilk, and it was good. Actually I cooked the cornbread in my wok, but don’t tell any of southern friends that, they’d just laugh at me. Not the last time I cook it in the wok either, got a lovely crisp edge to it, and the yoghurt actually kept the cornbread moist.
About a half hour before the greens were ready, I pulled the ham bone out and took the little bit of meat left on it off, and tossed the ham bits back into the pot. Let it simmer and then served it up. And it was so good.
Now, please excuse me, I need to go and finish my lunch. OK, so yesterday it was a nice lunch, this morning it’s breakfast. Nothing like starting the day off right.