Southern Ham Hock Collards (with Slightly Sweet Pickled Jalapeño Corn Cornbread)

Slow southern cooking, perfect for a lazy Sunday.  The ham hock adds so much flavor to this traditional southern dish for such an inexpensive amount!  You can either add one or two hocks.  One hock will still give depth, fat and flavor to the dish while 2 hocks will make the greens swim in delicious pork fat- it’s up to you just how pork-y you want them.  These collards are relatively easy to prepare, it’s just time consuming (1.5 hours, but you can walk away from the pot)- but believe me, it’s well worth the wait for these hearty, filling greens.

Southern Ham Hock Collards
Total cook time: 1 hr 30 min
Serves 4-6

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 bay leaves
• 1-2 smoked ham hocks (0.6-1.75 lbs)- skin on
• 5-7 cups water
• 1 large bunch collards
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• Salt and ground black pepper to taste
• Couple shakes of Tabasco

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil  in dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion, salt and pepper and cook until they start to soften.  Add garlic, bay leaves and cook 1  minute.  Add ham hocks, about 6 cups water (enough water to cover about half of the hock(s)) and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and simmer 30 minutes covered.

Prep the greens while simmering.  Cut away the tough stalks, wash the leaves to remove grit and tear (or cut) leaves into large pieces.

Take out the ham hocks and cut off any meat (typically there’s not very much meat on the bone).  Add prepped greens, apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar and red pepper flakes to the pot.  Add ham hock meat and hock bone back in and bring to a boil then simmer covered 45 minutes.

Add salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste.  Simmer 15 minutes uncovered.  Serve with additional hot sauce and Slightly Sweet Pickled Jalapeno Corn Cornbread to sop up the potlikker!

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