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Fifteen years ago, I tasted some amazing Southern collard greens at a church potluck in Savannah. To my great delight, I was able to find the lady that brought them, so I naturally asked her what her secret was. Can you guess what ingredient she said? 🤔
It wasn’t smoked turkey legs or bacon, it was ham hocks! 🍖 At that time, I had never cooked anything with ham hocks, but trust me, this meat will give this nutritious green vegetable an incredible flavor. When you are done cooking your greens, don’t throw out the liquid called pot-licker, as it is packed with vitamins. Pour it in a glass and drink it up while it is still warm which is what I do, or be a true Southerner and pour it over your crumbled cornbread. You will find it hard to stop at one helping of these greens, but if you’re not counting calories, have a second or third. Better yet, make a double batch. 👍 Your dinner guests will be glad you did!
Southern collard greens are delicious and nutritious! The secret ingredient of ham hocks makes this dish irresistible.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1/16 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound fresh collard greens, washed and chopped
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 heaping teaspoons brown sugar
- 3 ham hocks
- 1 cup smoked ham, shredded
- In a large dutch oven, saute the chopped onion in olive oil for 6 minutes and the minced garlic for two. Season with salt and pepper.
- Using the same pot, fry the clean, chopped collard greens in small batches over medium heat until they wilt, stirring after adding each new batch. This will take approximately 10 minutes for two pounds of greens. (I like to make a double batch!)
- Pour in the chicken stock and filtered water and stir.
- Add the red pepper flakes, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and shredded smoked ham. Give me an opportunity to throw in more ham, and I’ll take it. Now, give the pot a good stir.
- Place the three ham hocks into the pot, making sure they are mostly surrounded by the greens.
- Bring the covered pot to a boil, then turn it down and let it simmer.
- Taste test at 1 hour, 1 1/2 hours, or at 2 hours, depending on how soft you like the greens.
- Remove the ham hocks after the first hour, let them cool, and shred the meat from them, and stir the meat back into the pot.
- Drain the greens, being careful to keep the liquid for drinking for its nutritional value and taste.
- Serve warm and garnish with extra shredded ham.
- It is much easier to buy a big bag of collard greens because it will be already washed and chopped.
- You can find bags of collard greens near the bagged spinach and kale.
- If you don’t eat pork, substitute the ham hocks for a smoked turkey leg.
- If you want this to be more of a main course dish, just increase the shredded smoked ham to two cups in the pot and sprinkle a generous helping of shredded ham hocks or smoked ham on top of each individual serving.