As Black History Month wraps up I want to raise a shot glass of pot likker to greens. Greens are the edible leaves of plants that have provided nourishment for African Americans throughout the ages. Last year I shared that greens were on the hot list, as one of the vegetables getting lots of buzz. And now they are “on-trend.” My Daddy would have gotten a big chuckle out of that one. He’d then retell the story of how he was given the pot likker off the greens as a little boy, because he had rickets.
Kale was king last year and now the arbiters of fashionable foods have crowned collards the new heavyweight of the bunch. Years ago no one would have guessed that greens would morph into a power food, trending, and showing up steamed, sautéed, slow-cooked, fried, wrapped and chipped as the next big thing in vegetables. There are several varieties of greens in addition to kale and collards. Beet greens, dandelion greens (yes, just like the weed), mustard, turnip, cabbage and Swiss chard—they’re all edible greens.
Most folks have a favorite green—typically the variety that they grew up eating. When I was growing up my grandmother traditionally cooked mustard and turnip greens. But now we’re cooking collards.
4 lbs. fresh collard greens
1 smoked turkey leg or smoked ham hock
4 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
Remove stems from greens. Wash greens by swishing in clean sink of cool to lukewarm water; drain. Coarsely chop leaves of greens; set aside.
In 8-qt. Dutch oven or stock pot combine water, onion, green pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and turkey; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover; simmer 45 to 60 minutes or until turkey is fork tender. Add greens and broth; continue simmering 1 hour or until greens are tender. Remove from heat; set aside and keep warm. Remove turkey from bone; shredding meat with two forks. Return meat to greens. Season to taste and serve with pepper vinegar and chopped onions, if desired.