Cleaning and trimming 5 pounds of collard greens is the hardest part of this recipe—after that, it’s easy. Sauté onions and garlic in a large pot, then add the greens. (It may seem odd to precook them, but wilting the collards is crucial to getting them to fit in the slow cooker.) Transfer everything to the slow cooker, along with ham hocks or smoked turkey drumsticks for meaty, smoky flavor, and walk away for 4 or even 6 hours. Come back to tender greens and some tasty potlikker to spoon over grits with shrimp or cornbread.
What to buy: Collard greens are often cooked with smoked ham hocks, but smoked turkey drumsticks are a great substitute and yield more meat than ham hocks.
This recipe was featured as part of our Slow Cooker Recipes for Hot Summer Days.
- 1Place the ham hocks or turkey drumsticks in a 3-quart or larger slow cooker; set aside.
- 2Using your hands, remove the collard leaves from the tough stems and discard the stems. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces, then wash and dry them; set aside.
- 3Heat the oil in a large, wide-bottomed pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
- 4Increase the heat to high, add the broth or stock, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Stir in the greens a handful at a time, adding more as they wilt, until they’re all in the pot.
- 5Turn off the heat and add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, the sugar, measured salt, measured pepper, and cayenne and stir to combine. Transfer to the slow cooker.
- 6Cover and cook until the greens are very tender, about 4 to 5 hours on high or 5 to 6 hours on low.
- 7Remove the ham hocks or turkey drumsticks to a cutting board. When they’re cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones (discard the skin and bones), shred it into bite-sized pieces, and stir it back into the greens. Add the remaining teaspoon of vinegar and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.