Smoked ham hock (optional)
2 bunches fresh young collards, washed free of any grit
1 onion, chopped medium 1 tablespoon bacon grease or vegetable oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 red chili pepper, or ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup water, plus more as needed
Pepper vinegar, for serving
If using the ham hock, simmer in water to cover for ten minutes, then remove and reserve. Discard cooking water.
Strip the stems off the collards. Chop into pieces about 1″ by 2″.
Heat the far or oil in a large pot. Add the chopped onions and sauté until translucent. Add collards and all the other ingredients (plus the ham hock, if using). Stir to mix. Add more water if necessary – you are looking more to steam, not boil, so add water about a quarter to midway up the greens. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pot, turn the flame down to low, and simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally. Check the pot and add more liquid if necessary. You may remove the greens at this point, if they are done to your liking. Southerners tend to cook them for about 45 minutes to an hour, or even longer, to get them really tender. Serve with cornbread to sop up the “pot likker”. Pass pepper vinegar alongside.
Recipe Property of Emily Casey