A whole mess ‘a greens. Well, technically not a whole mess, because I cook for two. You probably already knew this much.
I’ve never seen a collard green recipe that didn’t serve an army. In fact, my old-timey Southern cookbooks recommend that you wash the whole heap of greens in the washing machine. As in, the metal box you put your dirty clothes in? First: yuck. Second: I’d have to invite the whole neighborhood to my house to help me eat that much collard greens. And then what would we do about side dishes? This scenario is stressing me out. A small batch of collard greens for two, here I come.
Today, I’m covering the basic recipe for classic collard greens. Notice I say the basic recipe, and not a basic recipe. This recipe is the true-blue, authentic way to cook your collards. They’re spicy, smoky, tangy, and silky all at once. I think well-cooked greens are ethereal.
If you want to taste collard greens for the first time, this recipe is for you. If you’re craving collards greens like your Mama makes, but your washer is full of actual laundry, this recipe is also for you.
Tomorrow, we’re going to stir this perfect pot of collard greens into something delicious. It might be cheesy. It might have ‘mac’ in the title. Loosen your belts.
- 6 collard green leaves (each leaf the size of a dinner plate)
- 4 slices of thick-cut bacon (peppered bacon is great here)
- 1 medium jalapeño
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup water
- First, wash the collards and remove the stem all the way up through the top of the leaf. Slice the leaves in half length-wise (where the stem used to be), then stack the leaves. Starting at the shorter end, roll the leaves into a cigar shape. Once rolled, slice into ½" ribbons. Set aside.
- Next, dice the bacon and add it to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Let it cook until crisp, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Leave the bacon grease in the pan.
- Meanwhile, dice the jalapeño. If you don't like spicy food, remove the seeds and ribs of the jalapeño.
- Add the collards and jalapeño to the saucepan with the bacon grease. Cook for 5 minutes, until slightly wilted. Stir in the reserved bacon, cider vinegar, salt, pepper and water. Cover and let cook over medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes. Taste the greens for tenderness. They should feel silky in your mouth.
- Serve hot.