Collard Greens Done 2 Ways

This was one of the first Thanksgivings for which I didn’t cook much of anything! We went to a family event and took in the different delicious foods prepared by my sister-in-law and her family. My lone contribution was ribs.

I wanted to share a recipe that I typically make this time of year: collard greens. I have a soft place in my heart for leafy green vegetables, and collards (and mustard greens) are at the top of my list. As mentioned in my recent post on the African Heritage Pyramid diet, others share my devotion to greens–it’s not uncommon for people to eat of meal of greens seasoned with meat, with cornbread on the side.

When I started cooking greens, I only made fresh greens on the stove, but nowadays I slow-cook the frozen ones. Here are recipes for fresh and frozen greens:

Fresh Greens

  • 2 large bunches of greens, about 4 lbs. (You can mix and match types of greens if you’d like. I usually use all collards, or collard and mustard greens.)
  • 1 package of smoked turkey (Choose wings or drumsticks over the more fatty turkey tails.)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • Minced garlic to taste
  • Jalapenos to taste, seeded and diced (optional)
  • Vinegar to taste (I typically use 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
  • Salt and red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Add the turkey, onions, garlic and pepper to a large pot of water, approximately 8 cups. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to low heat, for at least 20 to 30 minutes.

While the pot is on, prepare the greens. Wash them thoroughly (in a large pan, pot or bowl, changing the water multiple times), then chop into small pieces or shreds, discarding the large, tough stems.

Slowly add the greens in batches to the pot of turkey and vegetables, stirring occasionally and making sure that the most recently added leaves make it into the water in the pot (rather than sit on top of the rest of the leaves and steam). Once all the greens have been added and immersed, bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Cook the greens until they are tender, at least 30 minutes.

Finally, adjust the seasonings by adding the vinegar and salt and/or pepper flakes.

Frozen Greens

  • 1 48-oz. package of chopped collard greens
  • Package of smoked turkey wings or drumsticks
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • Jalapenos to taste, seeded and diced (optional)
  • Minced garlic to taste
  • 6 to 8 cups of water or chicken broth (or a combination)
  • Vinegar to taste
  • Salt and/or red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Add the garlic, onion and peppers to the slow cooker, then add the turkey and greens. Top with the liquid. Cook on the low or high setting until the greens are tender, 4 to 6 hours (high setting) or 8 hours (low setting). Add the vinegar and adjust the seasonings as needed at the end of cooking time.

Nothing beats the taste of fresh greens, but the frozen greens made in this manner are also good. And making the frozen greens saves on time and the number of dishes to take care of later!

As far as vinegar goes, I have typically gone with white vinegar, but I’d like to experiment with apple cider vinegar, after tasting the difference it made in the marinade for my ribs.


10 thoughts on “Collard Greens Done 2 Ways

    • You have to let me know how your greens turn out if you make some!

      You reminded me of a time-saver that I forgot: A lot of groceries have bags of pre-cut, pre-washed greens now. The thorough washing of the greens and the chopping is the reason why I hadn’t made fresh greens in a long time. But I made fresh greens about two months ago, and I went with the bagged greens. So much easier!

  1. OMG, we had collards tonight with black eyed peas. We’re in North Carolina, collard country, and the older I get, the more I like collards. I love them with apple cider vinegar, but I hadn’t tried them with smoked turkey or jalapenos– both sound like a great idea. I’m having a “why didn’t I think of that?” moment.
    Earlier this fall, a friend brought me some greens from her garden. No collards, but they were mustard, beet, and radish greens. I’m not usually a big fan of mustard greens, but these greens were so fresh and beautiful, they were heavenly. Nothing like fresh from someone’s garden.
    But hey, I do the frozen greens, too, and never thought of putting them in a crock pot, even though I like using the crock pot. You’re opening my eyes here!

    • Glad I can help! : ) I love my crockpot, and I use it almost every week.

      Freshly picked greens must be really good. I like the convenience of the frozen greens, but nothing beats the fresh ones.

      If/when I resume my vegetable garden, sounds like I should plant some greens!

  2. First time cooking frozen (always fresh) and your crockpot recipe is awesome! Thanks so much. I took out some of the liquid at end and seasoned some more.

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