The Southern-style of cooking of greens came with the arrival of African slaves to the southern colonies and the need to satisfy their hunger and provide food for their families. Though greens did not originate in Africa, the habit of eating greens that have been cooked down into a low gravy, and drinking the juices from the greens (known as “pot likker”) is of African origin. The slaves of the plantations were given leftover food from the plantation kitchen. Some of this food consisted of the tops of turnips and other greens. Ham hocks and pig’s feet were also given to the slaves. Forced to create meals from these leftovers, they created the famous southern greens. The slave diet began to evolve and spread when slaves entered the plantation houses as cooks. Their African dishes, using the foods available in the region they lived in, began to evolve into present-day Southern cooking
Southern Collard Greens Recipe w/ Smoked Turkey Legs (soul food style)
- 1 bunch of collard greens
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves diced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 t. red pepper flakes
- 1 fully-cooked smoked turkey leg (can also use smoked turkey wings)
- Seasoning (optional) (salt, pepper, vinegar, hot sauce
- Remove the collard green leaf from the steam.
- Wash the collards several times in cold water to remove any dirt and grit. You can also use salt to help remove the grit if needed.
- Rinse well & set aside
- In a large pot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped onions & garlic. Saute until tender.
- Add in the chicken broth, red pepper flakes, & the turkey leg. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 20-30 minutes. This helps the broth take on that delicious, smokey flavor!
- Add in the collard greens. Simmer covered for about 45-60 minutes or until your desired tenderness is reached. You can increase the heat if needed but do not boil the collard greens. They will wilt down as they cook.
- When done, season to your preference. In my opinion, these greens don't need a thing if your broth is very sesoned. I usually add in a few dashes of black pepper and a few drops of hot sauce!