These Southern-style turnip greens complement fried chicken, ham, and pork chops nicely, and they go well with just about any main dish. A word of caution: don't forget the cornbread! Southerners might even refuse to eat them without freshly baked cornbread or cornbread muffins. And don't drain the greens after they're cooked! The "potlikker" is an essential part of the dish.
If you are using fresh turnip greens with turnip attached, you might want to use the whole plant. Wash, peel, and cut a turnip into 1/4-inch cubes and cook it right along with the greens. The diced turnip root adds color, flavor, and texture to the greens.
If you or members of your family are vegetarian, omit the bacon and saute the onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken stock and add some fresh diced tomatoes just before serving.
Southern greens are usually served with pepper vinegar sauce. If you don't have pepper vinegar sauce, serve them with your favorite hot sauce or plain apple cider vinegar.
Turnip greens can have quite a bit of sand clinging to the leaves, so don't skimp on washing or rinsing time. If they're fresh from the garden, they could even have insects. If you suspect they have insects, add a few tablespoons of salt to the first sink full of water and let them soak for a few minutes.
- 1 pound turnip greens
- 6 strips bacon
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic (mashed and minced)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup chicken stock
- salt, to taste
- Optional: Hot pepper sauce or pepper vinegar
- Fill a clean sink with cold water. Put the turnip greens in the water and swish them around to loosen any sand clinging to the leaves. Drain the water and then fill the sink and rinse again. Continue rinsing and draining until you can't feel any grit on the bottom of the sink.
- Remove thick stems from the leaves and discard them. Chop the leaves.
- Dice the bacon into 1-inch pieces.
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until it begins to brown and some of the fat has rendered; add onions and continue cooking, stirring, until onions are softened.
- Add the minced garlic, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer.
- Add the chopped turnip greens a handful at a time, letting each addition wilt a bit before adding more. Add the chicken broth and bring them back to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir the greens occasionally.
- Taste and add salt, as needed.