Braised Collard Greens
Adding hard cider to smoky ham stock (a trick from the recipe developer Grace Parisi) builds a foundation of tangy, tart flavors in this recipe. It takes about 2 hours for the hocks to become tender, but once your kitchen fills with the smell of ham bubbling away in a pot of vinegary cider, you’ll never want that slow simmer to end. If you like really sour collards, add a splash of apple cider vinegar once the greens have finished braising.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 3tablespoons olive oil
- 2pounds smoked ham hocks
- 2onions, thinly sliced into half-moons
- 2garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1teaspoon cumin
- 1teaspoon cayenne
- 1teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 ½teaspoons light brown sugar
- 1 ½cups chicken stock
- 1(650-milliliter/22-ounce) bottle hard apple cider (about 2 3/4 cups)
- 2pounds collard greens (about 3 to 4 bunches), large stems removed, washed and cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
- Hot sauce, for serving (optional)
Step 1Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over medium-high. When hot, add ham hocks. When they’re sizzling, flip and crisp the other side.
Step 2Add the onions and stir so they are coated in the fat and nestled under and around the hocks. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
Step 3Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne, salt and brown sugar, and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Step 4Pour in the chicken stock and hard cider and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, until the ham hocks are very tender.
Step 5Remove the ham hocks and allow to cool slightly. Skim the fat off the surface of the stock. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone (discard the fat and the skin) and chop into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.
Step 6Bring the stock back to a boil, then add the greens in large handfuls, pressing them down to wilt in the hot stock before adding more leaves. Add the reserved ham hock meat.
Step 7Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the greens are silky and tender. Season with salt and serve with hot sauce and a splash of apple cider vinegar, if desired.