I am a Yankee who knows almost nothing about them. However, I had some recently in The South, and while they weren't bad, I had no idea if they were "authentic" -- any hints/tips on how to determine that?
What do you mean by authentic? How they were prepared?
It's colored greens. They don't call them collard people.
I prefer dandelion greens, but all of them require deep soaking and then are DELISH and NUTRICIOUS!
Collards are often grown in sandy soil. When I buy them in the store, I'll bring them home and rinse them well to remove the sand. Sometimes I do this in the bathtub, sometimes in the sink, and I have even used my washing machine once or twice.
I use my biggest pot and put about 3 inches of water in the bottom and boil a smoked ham hock for about a half hour. I remove this and then put the rinse collards in that I have cut with a knife into smaller pieces. Just roll 'em up and cut them.
Then I add the leaves to the pot with the ham hock water and add some more water but not too much because the leaves are full of water. As the leaves cook down you can keep adding more leaves to the pot.
I let the ham hock cool and then cut the meat left on it off and dice it up. Add this meat to the pot.
I like to add about ½ tablespoon of crushed red pepper to mine at this point. Simmer your pot of collards for about an hour and half and then taste for tenderness. Add salt at this time if need be.
Cook till desired tenderness of the collards is reached.
Save the pot liquor and enjoy as a soup later on with cornbread. It freezes well.
What r4 said.
Also a Yankee living in the South. Made it for NYE just the way r4 said (maybe cooked a tad less but they were done).
Got raves from all the Southern boys.
I love the Glory brand of Collard greens sold at Walmart and other grocers. Washed, and ready to cook.
Fry 5 strips of bacon, remove from the grease. Add one chopped onion and fry lightly until it begins to turn transparent. Add Collard Greens and cook, allowing them to wilt down and add more greens until the whole bag is in the covered pot. Cook for 15 minutes or so, you want them tender but not mushy. Add a can of diced tomatoes drained, a rounded tablespoon of brown sugar, the previously fried bacon crumbled and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, toss together everything and cover to heat through.
While all of the "traditional" Southern recipes above will produce excellent collards, some people may want a meat free (or almost meat free) way to enjoy these delicious greens. This way also is much quicker than the long term cooking that most southern cooks use.
Wash greens well. An old Southern rule of thumb is that they should be washed three times in cold water. Chiffonade the collards.
Dice a large onion and saute in a large pot with some oil (probably 1/4 cup at most) or your choice (canola, peanut, mixed with some sesseme oil if you wish--don't use olive oil). When the onion is translucent, add chopped garlic (to taste, but I would add about a tablespoon). Continue to saute for a few minutes, being sure not to let garlic burn. Season with salt and pepper. You may use red pepper flakes for heat.
Add the collards in batches, mixing with the onions and garlic and cooking down before the next addition of collards. Basically, you are stir frying them. Tongs may be useful for this stage of cooking.
When all the collards have been added and have wilted, continue "stir-frying" them for about 5 minutes.
Add about a cup or more of stock (chicken if you don't mind a minimal meat accent or veg. if you want to be completely meat free) and about a tablespoon of soy sauce. The collards should have plenty of liquid without being submerged. Bring the collards to a boil and turn down to simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste and season as desired.
They smell awful. If you can cook them outside, then do so.
I don't much like them, actually.
Yum! Good for ya too.
You've never been to Sylvia's. WOW
The recipes in this thread are wonderful, OP, but if you don't know your greens you might find collards too gamey. I prefer the milder turnip greens. Whatever - enjoy.
After living in the South for a number of years and moving back North, every year in deep winter I would begin craving collard greens. I finally learned where to find them and how to cook them. Now as soon as the weather begins to turn, I make greens at least once a week. I also discovered a local cafeteria that isn't good for much else always has cooked greens as a side dish. I'll go there in a pinch and talk the server into giving me a cereal bowl full of greens instead of the usual two tablespoon serving.
I LOVE good greens, wish they were on more menus.
" I have even used my washing machine once or twice."
Bet'cha it took R4 forever running each leaf through the wringers.
R7, I'm adding to your recipe to cut the strong flavor of the collards. I add one or more the following, curry powder, a pinch of sugar, hot pepper or hot sauce, chicken seasoning, steak seasoning (99 Cent Store Special.)
They must be cooked in bacon grease.
I made collard greens using basically R4's method last weekend. I love them, but you have to cook them forever if you want them tender. An hour isn't too long.
I always add a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar to the pot liquor right before serving. Just a tiny bit. When making them for vegetarians, I cook them in vegetable stock and add a dash of liquid smoke.
I prefer mustards, but collards are great too.
Probably the most traditional way is to cook them down with a ham hock, like r4 described. But my grandmother used fatback, and I probably just prefer it that way because it's what I'm used to.
I have a more health conscious aunt who replaces the smoked meats with olive oil for flavoring. Not bad, but not nearly as good.
I like greens in soups with sausage, or steamed with a bit vinegar.
You don't have to cook them.
Marinate them in sesame oil and lemon juice. Soak them. Sopping. 24 hours. Then you can add in onions or peppers, capers what ever you like for additional flavor or texture.
Delish and even more nutritious and no smell.
I'll take mustard greens over collards any day. I like me a little kick. And when the weeds in the neighborhood are doing their thing, I cut in a little poke weed (well prepared, of course, to avoid the poisoning) for sass.
Onions, bacon or a hamhock, hot pepper flakes, and a splash of hot sauce or white vinegar when they're done. Good with rice or beans or beans and rice!