I absolutely love gardens. It doesn’t matter whether its a flower garden, an herb garden or a vegetable garden. There is something about tilling dirt, planting seeds, watering them and watching with great interest for something to burst through the soil making its presence known announcing to the world that you were successful in your efforts to grow something. My father plants a vegetable garden every year in his backyard. Growing up on a farm in the south, he was accustom to planting big gardens when he was barely a teen. Along the way he developed an amazing green thumb that is greener than any gardener I know.
Perhaps, that’s why my father plants green veggies in his garden – green peppers, green tomatoes and collard greens. I don’t know how he does it, but my dad grows the biggest, tastiest collard greens I have ever seen. Their leaves are huge, their color is rich and their stems are strong, so strong you can use them as handles and wave the leaves back and forth like a fan. I don’t know my father’s secret for growing the best collard greens. I chalk it up to experience and age-old-wisdom, but one thing I do know is how to cook them.
Collards, like most greens are easy to cook and clean. They can be steamed, put in a slow cooker or boiled. I like to boil mine and season them with cayenne pepper to make them spicy, not, too spicy – just right spicy. See recipe below. Enjoy!
2 POUNDS FRESH COLLARD GREENS
1 MEDIUM ONION DICED
2 CUPS SMOKED HAM CHOPPED
1 TEASPOON COURSE SEA SALT
1/2 TEASPOON FINE GROUND BLACK PEPPER
1/2 TEASPOON CAYENNE PEPPER
2 TABLESPOONS DISTILLED WHITE VINEGAR
1 TABLESPOON HOT SAUCE
3 (32 OUNCE) CHICKEN BROTH
3 CHICKEN BOULLION CUBES
PICK COLLARD GREENS FROM STEM
TEAR COLLARD LEAVES INTO FOUR PIECES
WASH COLLARD GREENS
POUR CHICKEN BROTH INTO LARGE POT
ADD COLLARD GREENS
COVER WITH LID
BOIL ON MEDIUM HEAT FOR AN HOUR AND 45 MINUTES
ADD CHICKEN BOUILLON CUBES
ADD HOT SAUCE
ADD SEA SALT
ADD BLACK PEPPER
ADD RED PEPPER
COOK FIFTEEN ADDITIONAL MINUTES
NOTE: DO NOT ADD HOT SAUCE OR CAYENNE PEPPER, IF YOU DON’T LIKE SPICY FOOD.