Collards. Mmm yummy dark green leaves full of vitamin K, A, C, folate, manganese, calcium, fiber, and the list goes on and on. I never liked collards until I started cooking them myself. Brace yourself, I’m about to reveal my top secret recipe. The secret to this recipe is the smoked turkey sausage. My mom is allergic to pork, so I wanted to make sure I cooked something she could eat. A ham hock is the traditional meat used to flavor the collards, so that was out. I tried a smoke turkey wing, and I definitely did not like the way that tasted.
You can use whatever smoked meat you have in this recipe, or ham bone, or whatever really. Smoked turkey sausage that isn’t highly processed may be quite hard to find, but it’s very much worth it. Just make sure what ever you use isn’t preserved with nitrates/nitrites.
Pro tip (yes, I would say I am a pro at consuming southern food) The pot liquor, or broth, that the collards are cooked in, are full of those nutrients. I’m not saying you have to drink it like my grandparents used to do, but definitely figure out a way to get it in your belly.
Oh and hey! Guess what? Here is a southern side dish that doesn’t use bacon grease or butter! Bet you didn’t know that bacon grease is a little old southern lady’s secret. Yep, think those veggies are healthy? Nope..leave it to the south to make a vegetable unhealthy. I have officially out-ed the elderly southern community….oops?
- 7 0z of smoked turkey sausage, cut into wheels
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 10 cups of water (I’m sure there’s a better measurement for that)
- 1 Tbs of Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 bunch of collards (that is how they are sold, in bunches)
1. Put about 1 Tbs of olive oil in the bottom of a large stock pot ( I use a 6 qt). Brown the smoked turkey sausage on both sides. When sausage is browned, add the minced garlic and saute for about a minute. Be careful to not let the garlic burn.
2. When the garlic is brown and has released its aroma, add the chicken broth, water, salt and pepper. Be sure to scrape the bits off the bottom, and bring to a full boil.
3. Once the broth is boiling, turn down to a simmer (low heat). Let simmer for 1 hour.
4. While the broth is simmering, clean the collard leaves thoroughly. Strip the leaves from the thick stem in the middle. Once the stem is removed, roll up a few leaves at a time and slice into 1 inch think slices (think of it as a thick julienne).
5. Once the broth has simmered for an hour, add the chopped collards to the broth. Let simmer for about an hour and a half. The time it takes really just depends on how high your heat is. The lower the better, the broth should not be bubbling.
Note: The longer you cook it, the saltier the collards will taste. Keep this in mind for your tastes (If you plan on cooking for 2 hours, use less salt)
If you remove the collards from the broth, they will cool down very quickly. I always serve the collards in their broth and use a slotted spoon to serve.