Are you looking for collard greens recipes? This Sweetened Collard Greens recipe is based on a recipe from Chef Hugh Acheson’s cookbook, A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen.
If you’ve read my post, Getting foodie at the Buick Encore Lifestyle Event, I was very excited to meet Chef Hugh Acheson at his Atlanta restaurant, Empire State South. I’d eaten at his two Athens restaurants, Five & Ten and The National, and was a big fan of his from watching Top Chef.
Sweetened Collard Greens - how to cook collard greens in a healthy way
Since I loved Hugh’s cookbook,I decided to share some of Hugh’s healthier and more practical recipes from A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen here at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet.
The first recipe I decided to tackle was collard greens since I bought a two pound bag of collards and needed to cook it up pronto!
I did cook collard greens Southern style before when I made my Tangy Collard Greens recipe at Thanksgiving. While my husband and I liked them, the kids thought the collard greens recipe was too bitter. After reading Hugh’s recipe I thought I had the solution – add something sweet!
Best way cook collard greens: use what’s in the pantry
I made some changes to Hugh’s collard greens recipe since I wanted to use up a few things in my pantry along with the collard greens. First, there was the bacon grease I had leftover from the previous weekend’s breakfast. I figured 1 1/2 tablespoons per pound of collard greens wasn’t too unhealthy and would add a lot of flavor.
Most collard greens recipes use ham hocks. Instead, I used thick ham slices leftover cold cuts from the kids’ lunches. I defrosted some ham broth that I had made over Thanksgiving. (You can use gluten free low sodium vegetable broth or gluten free low sodium chicken stock instead.)
I made a few more substitutions to Hugh’s A New Turn in the South recipe such as using red wine vinegar instead of the sherry vinegar and leaving out the red pepper flakes in order to entice the kids to eat it. The kids had mixed reactions. My daughter, Lucie refused to try them. But my son, Nathan loved the collard greens and asked for seconds! My husband, Paul, also had seconds while telling me how good the collards tasted.
This Mama’s tips for making Sweetened Collard Greens
Collard green recipes take some time to cook up – about an hour for the collard greens to soften. So if you’re making Sweetened Collard Greens on a busy weeknight, plan accordingly.
To save time, buy prewashed and chopped collard greens, if they’re available at your grocery store.
You’ll need a large stock pot to cook Southern style collard greens in – the bigger the stock pot the better! Initially, the collard greens will take up the whole pot, but they’ll eventually soften and cook down. If you don’t have a large pot, divide and cook up a batch in two large cooking pots.
Leftover collard greens taste great cold or heated up in the microwave.
Sweetened Collard Greens
Based on Hugh Acheson’s Collard Greens recipe from A New Turn in the South (page 222)
- 3 tablespoons bacon grease or olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 pounds cleaned collard greens, chopped into small pieces (buy these prechopped and cleaned to save time)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sorghum or maple syrup
- 4 cups ham broth - you can use gluten free low sodium vegetable broth or gluten free low sodium chicken stock instead
- 3 thick slices black forest ham, diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Serve and enjoy!
- Heat the bacon grease or olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook until it starts turning color.
- Add the collard greens to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the vinegar and cook down for 5 minutes.
- Add the maple or sorghum syrup, stock, ham, and kosher salt to the pot. Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until stock is just about gone and collards are tender.
- Serving size: 1/6 of recipe
Originally published on January 25, 2013. Updated with new photos and information.