What pops into your mind when you hear the words “soul food”? My mind conjures up visions of my favorite dinner growing up: fried pork chops with fried potatoes on the side and peach cobbler for dessert. It generates feelings of love, security, and nostalgia but notice the double use of the word “fried”. Soul food has some seriously negative connotations – unhealthy, salty, and fattening and rightfully so. My favorite dinner probably had at least 50 fat grams and lord knows how many calories. Through out the rest of the year, I’m going to do some posts on the soul food from my childhood but lighter healthier versions – no fatback, ham hocks, or salt pork.
Collard greens cooked with a couple of ham hocks were a staple at my house. In this version I substituted half a smoked turkey wing for the ham hocks. You can find them in the grocery store and they’re usually already cut in half. It gives the same smokey flavor without the fat you get from the pork. Make sure you clean the hell out of our greens. I rinse mine before and after I cut them up. Remove the stems by taking a sharp knife and slicing down each side of the big stem in the middle. These stems never truly get tender so make sure you remove them. I tend to like my greens with a little tooth but if you like them more tender, cook them until they get to your desired tenderness.
Spicy Collard Greens with Tomatoes
- 1 1/2 pounds collard greens, cleaned and stems removed
- 1/2 smoked turkey wing
- 8 cups water
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 14.5 oz can diced Italian style tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
- Pour water in dutch oven and add turkey wing.
- Bring water to boil, cover dutch oven, and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour then remove turkey and discard.
- Remove lid and reduce liquid down to 2 cups.
- While turkey wing is simmering, heat medium skillet over medium-low heat and add olive oil. Add onion, pepper flakes, and garlic to pan and saute until onion softens. Add canned tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Once water has reduced down, add greens, sugar, and tomato mixture and simmer until greens are at the desired tenderness. I cooked these for about 30 minutes.