Thursday, October 21, 2010

Must cook greens

My CSA (that's community supported agriculture, or a farm share if you don't know) has been giving me an onslaught of collard greens lately. Being a nice Jewish girl from California, I had no idea what to do with this ultimate Southern green at all. Once I tried slicing them into slivers and sauteing them quickly with bacon (Gourmet said it was okay to do it that way), but Zack wrinkled up his nose and said "That's not how you're supposed to cook these" (He's from South of the Mason-Dixon line). So I threw in the towel and ordered a ham hock. What's a ham hock?

That's a ham hock (post boiling for over an hour). I am honestly still not 100% sure what part of the pig it once came from. But they sure made for some nice collard greens.

Lena's Ridiculous Not Southern Collard Greens

3 large bunches of greens (I used two bunches of collard greens and one bunch of turnip greens), tough stems cut away
lots of water
white vinegar (about 1 Tbs)
1 giant ham hock
a little salt

1. Wash your greens - mine came from a farm and so were kinda dirty.

2. Put the ham hock in a giant pot of water - I used my Jewish grandmother's dutch oven. I'm sure she's rolling in her grave as I type. Add the vinegar and greens and bring to a boil.

3. Bring the heat down and simmer for at least an hour. Add a little salt if you think you need it. I added it because I can't resist tinkering.

4. That's it! Shred some of the meat from the ham hock and add it to the greens if you can't bear to think you paid a bunch of money for a giant piece of ham and now you're just throwing it away. Keep plenty of the water you cooked the greens in as well. It's super good. There will be way too much of it to save it all, but that's okay. This is how much I had leftover (after storing like 3 cups of it with the greens).

Full disclosure: I had no idea what to do with the ham hock once the greens were done boiling. I called my friend Danny and promptly blurted out "This is a weird question, but I'm asking you because you're from the South, even though you're Jewish," to which he replied "ham hock?" That is totally why we're friends. Amazing. He told me I should throw it away, which absolved me from keeping the weird boiled pig bone in my refrigerator for a week for no reason.

The greens are good, I think! I have no reference point for them at all, but I ate them happily. Or to be more precise, tasted them happily and stored them in my fridge until I make a main dish to go with them. And possibly some cornbread.


Meredith said...

Yeah, the ham hock has probably done it's job at that point. You can shred some of the meat and put it back into the greens if you like but it isn't necessary. I'm kinda sad you called your jewish southern friend and not me. I mean I know I'm not actually southern, but Texan, but I do know all about ham hock. Which I'm pretty sure is from the top of the leg. I'm thinking front.

Mikochan said...

Dude, you can totally cook collards the way you first tried. x.x (Silly Zack.) However... I have a good collards recipe I can send you... it uses balsamic vinegrette and raisins and nuts, I think... it's also ham-hock free. xD