Collard greens are my personal favorite green leafy vegetable. For me they drum up many childhood memories that span across the many kitchens of grandmothers, aunties, or any gathering worthy of the preparation of these tender and tasty greens. Bagged precut greens were not of that error. I very rarely use them today. I remove the stems from my greens, and bagged greens are loaded with them! The traditional preparation includes removing stems, cutting into ribbons, soaking and rinsing. I still thoroughly enjoy this tradition of preparation and take great pride in it. For many years the greens were seasoned with a form of pork – fatback, neckbones, bacon, etc. That is still the preference of many and I am all for it! One day in my Nana Claudia’s kitchen, my aunt made her rendition of collard greens. It changed my life forever. She used smoked turkey wings and added sugar. I took a combination of my grandmother, mom, and aunt, mashed them up to generate my collard green recipe. It is extremely easy with a few simple ingredients. Collard greens have good flavor of their own and the additional ingredients are merely supporting cast members. If I try to switch up my recipe my family is highly offended! (insert smile)
3 bunches of collard greens
1 quart of chicken stock
2 smoked turkey wings
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon black pepper
2-3 Tablespoons white distilled vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon baking soda
Step 1 -Prep greens by removing the stems and stack leaves and roll like a cigar. Cut greens into ribbons, soak in the sink covering with water and 1 T baking soda. Move them around in the water. Put greens in a colander and rinse with cool water.
Step 2 -In medium to large pot add chicken broth, smoked turkey (cut surface of meat to help flavor release quicker) and crushed red pepper. Allow flavors to meld together over medium high for 15 minutes.
Step 3 -Remove smoked turkey, set aside. Start adding greens in batches. Every batch add a sprinkle of sugar and pepper. Once batch cooks down, add a new batch and repeat until all green are in pot.
Step 4 -Add salt to taste and vinegar. Place smoked turkey on top and let cook until greens are tender. Optional, pull smoked turkey meat from the wings and add to the pot of greens. Serve hot.