Fresh Southern-Style Collard Greens

Collard greens
Preston Schlebusch/The Image Bank/Getty Images
  • 85 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 70 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
Ratings (6)

These fresh collard greens are seasoned with diced bacon or hog jowl. Rinse the greens several times before trimming and chopping. There's nothing worse than biting into gritty greens!

I add about 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar or pepper vinegar sauce to the greens as they cook, and many Southern cooks add a teaspoon or two of sugar.

Serve the collard greens with hot baked cornbread and pepper vinegar sauce. To make your own homemade pepper sauce, see the instructions below the recipe.

What You'll Need

  • 2 pounds collard greens
  • 6 to 8 thick slices bacon or hog jowl, diced 
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or seasoned salt blend, optional

How to Make It

  1. Wash collard greens in about 3 to 4 changes of water, until no sandy sediment can be felt in the bottom of the sink or bowl.
  2. Lay each leaf out and cut out the thick center stalk and any very thick veins. Layer several leaves and roll them; Cut the rolled leaves into 1/2-inch strips (chiffonade style). You may also chop the leaves.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat cook the diced bacon or jowl to render some of the fat. Discard the drippings or save and refrigerate for another use.
  1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven bring the 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the cooked bacon or hog jowl, the chopped onions, salt, red and black peppers, and seasoned salt or Cajun seasoning, if using. Add the greens to boiling water. You might have to add the collard greens in batches.
  2. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 1 hour, or until greens are tender.
  3. Serve the collard greens with freshly baked cornbread and pass the hot pepper vinegar or pepper sauce at the table.

Serves 4 to 6.

Tips and Variations

  • Add 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar and a few tablespoons of tomato paste to the greens along with the seasonings. 
  • Brown the onions with the bacon or hog jowl before adding them to the pot.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of sugar to the cooking liquid along with the seasonings.
  • Mince a few cloves of garlic and saute in the drippings for a minute or two before adding to the pot. Or add about 1 teaspoon of garlic powder along with the other seasonings.
  • Add 1 to 2 cups of cooked black-eyed peas to the greens about 10 minutes before the greens are done.
  • Pepper Vinegar or Pepper Sauce - Sterilize a 1-pint canning jar and pack with small hot jalapeno and/or serrano chile peppers. Slice one or two of them before adding to the jar. Fill the jar with white vinegar and add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and a dash of salt. Cover and refrigerate the pepper sauce for at least 5 days before using. 

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