This is a serious comfort food dish for me. It’s something that my mom would make when Dad harvested 100 pounds of collard greens from the garden, or a friend dropped off a giant garbage bag full of collards that we needed to get rid of. It’s also got a little soul–we’ve been schooled in the proper way to cook collards (meaning never without ham!).
So if you have some collard greens from your CSA box to use up, or you need a comforting bowl of warm and delicious food so you can stop reeling from the news that Kim Kardashian’s 10 million dollar wedding lasted 72 days (really, Kim…really?), this is the dinner for you. Plus it only uses three ingredients, and that’s always nice.
Collard Greens with Ham and ‘Taters (serves 4-6)
- Ham–I used a 2-lb smoked shoulder something or other. I’d rather have something with a bone, but there were no ham hocks available and I also didn’t want a 10-lb chunk of meat.
- 1 bundle collard greens, rinsed
- 8-10 small white or yellow potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
- 1/4-1/2 t salt
First order of business is to start the ham. Bring some water to boil in a large pot (I probably used around 8 C of water to start) and simmer the ham for about 40 minutes. This makes the broth that you are going to cook the potatoes and greens in taste nice and smoky. After the first 40 minutes, I removed the ham and used a gravy separator to get rid of a bunch of the unnecessary grease.
Return the ham and the broth to the pot and return to a boil. Make sure the potatoes are well-scrubbed and toss those in, then clean and slice the collard greens. It’s important to take out the middle stem from the collard greens (except for the little ones), because it’s bitter and not the tastiest. Once you’ve cut out the middle (or ripped out), stack a few big leaves together, roll ‘em up, and cut them.
Add those to the pot along with the salt (start on the low side with the salt because hams are saaa-aal-ty). Simmer everything together for another 30-40 minutes (younger greens get tender faster), until the potatoes and collard greens are tender.
Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the goods and serve.
Gosh. So easy but so good. Fritz was in heaven, since it has been a long while since we’ve had a big man-sized serving of meat, and even longer since we’ve had ham.
Ham is one of those meats that I love to eat every once in a while (and cold leftovers on a sandwich are the b-e-s-t), but definitely can’t have too frequently. I think it’s because it’s so fatty that I can thoroughly enjoy a few meals made out of it and then I need a long, long break from it.
For a collard green-related giggle, I strongly suggest that you watch the “Diversity Day” episode of season one of The Office. Then report back to me.