I never grew up eating collard greens, but I did try them a few years ago at the Cracker Barrel and they have since become one of my favorite side dishes. I call these greens “Southern Style” since they use bacon instead of a ham bone, which is the way they are typically prepared in the South.
I adapted this recipe slightly from Paula Deen’s Collard Greens recipe by changing the meat, cutting down on the fat, and cooking the greens slow all day in a crock pot. I most often use kale with this recipe because it is easy to find and often on sale at the local grocery store, but I have used actual collard greens, turnip greens, swiss chard, and even beet greens. They all taste great in this dish. At the Cracker Barrel the greens are served with red wine vinegar or Texas Pete’s hot pepper sauce, which adds just the right punch of flavor. Experiment around at home and see what flavors you like best.
•2 cups chicken broth
•2-4 cloves garlic, left whole
•1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
•2 strips of lean bacon, chopped into large chunks
•3-4 large bunches of kale, or another green- chopped into large pieces (Kale bunches tend to be pretty bid, so I’d go with 3 bunches of kale, or 4 or another green)
Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of your crock pot. Toss in the garlic cloves, pepper, and bacon pieces. Next, wash the greens in batches and add them to the crockpot. Really cram them in there tightly. They will cook down a lot. You may want to sit a can of food or something on the lid for a while to keep it held down if it pops up. Cook on low for about 8 hours. The greens will be wilted and tasty. Serve with vinegar and hot sauce.