Collard greens, revered for their slightly bitter taste and substantially thick leaves, make a delicious (and often required) side dish in a comforting southern meal. We love this sweet and spicy rendition because it adds a little grown-up kick to otherwise ordinary greens. The ham hock simmers in the slow cooker with the collards and onions, so you end up with well-rounded flavors perfect for serving with ribs, steak, pork or chicken (and let’s not forget the cornbread).
Sweet and Spicy Collard Greens
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 packages (16-oz. each) collard greens, rinsed and trimmed
1 smoked pork hock (about 1/2 lb.)
1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
3 Tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Hot pepper sauce and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to low and add collards, a handful at a time, stirring until greens begin to wilt (about 10 minutes). Add 1/4 cup water to the pot after the first bag of greens to help wilt the greens faster.
Place pork hock in bottom of slow cooker crock and add mixture from Dutch oven. Top with wilted collard green mixture.
Combine broth, brown sugar, garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper in medium bowl; pour over collard greens.
Cover and cook on HIGH 3 to 3 1/2 hours until collards are tender.
Pull meat from ham hock, add to greens and serve with hot pepper sauce, freshly ground black pepper and cornbread.
If you have a slow cooker with stove-top safe cookware, substitute the cookware for the Dutch oven in the directions above. After sautéing, place cookware in base, cover and cook as directed in recipe.
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