Slow-Cooked Collards and Potlikker
Source of Recipe
From "Sweet Home Café Cookbook" by Albert Lukas
"Collard greens are such an African American classic that most people are surprised to discover that they are not from the African continent, but rather a northern European green. They are usually cooked long and low until silky smooth and tender. Be sure to rinse the greens thoroughly, as grit is often trapped in the folds of the leaves."
List of Ingredients
◦ 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
◦ 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
◦ 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
◦ 2 smoked ham hocks
◦ 5 cups cold water
◦ 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
◦ 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
◦ 1 teaspoon kosher salt
◦ 1 teaspoon hot sauce
◦ ˝ teaspoon sugar
◦ 2 pounds collard greens
◦ Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ham hocks and cook for 2 more minutes. Next add the water, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, hot sauce, and sugar. Bring to a steady simmer, lower the heat, and simmer gently for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, cut off the stems of the collards and slice out the rib that runs the length of each leaf. This should yield two large pieces from each leaf. Stack all the trimmed leaves on top of one another and then crosscut the leaves into ˝-inch-wide ribbons. Transfer the collards to a large bowl with a large amount of cold water and agitate for 1 minute. Allow the water to settle for 5 minutes. Then, with a slotted spoon, remove the collards and transfer to another bowl. Change the water and repeat the process. The collards must be completely free of sand and dirt.
Add the cleaned collards to the ham hock stock and simmer until the collards are very tender, about 1 hour. Once the greens are tender, remove the ham hocks. When the hocks are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, remove the meat from the bones, and chop the meat. Return the meat to the pot of greens. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt, hot sauce, and pepper before serving.
Serves 6 to 8
❧ Chef's Note:
To adapt this recipe for vegetarians, omit the ham hocks and use vegetable stock in place of the water. Another alternative is to replace the ham hocks with two smoked turkey wings. Serve with hot corn bread for sopping up the potlikker, the tasty, vitamin-rich cooking liquid.