Southern Stewed Green

     In southern cooking greens are a staple. Every cook has their own take but two key things are first off greens, you can't make southern style greens without greens. But the second key is pork. Bacon, pork, sausage or any combo are used to season the greens. Greens cooked like this can be served as a side dish or over grits. 

     So with that out of the way, back to the greens. You can use any kind you want, all are cooked in a similar fashion. The difference is the cooking time. Beet greens for example are much softer and will cook quickly. Some of the tougher greens, collards, or kale for example take much longer to cook. 

     Vinegar at the end is common but not required. You are welcome to leave it out but cooking it at high heat at the last minute caramelizes the vinegar and neutralizes the acidic bite adding a lot of flavor. 

4 large bunches greens
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. bacon drippings
1/4 - 1 c. ham, diced
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Wash the greens really well to get rid of any existing mud. If you with to remove the harder stem do so now, but I leave it in mine, I like the bite. Slice the greens in to 1/2 an inch strips. 

Heat the bacon drippings to a cast iron pan. Once they are hot add the onion and cook, stirring, for a minute or two until translucent. Add the greens, ham cubed, and garlic.

Cook, stirring, until the greens start to look cooked, a little over 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook another 15 - 20 minutes or until the greens are very tender and the liquid is evaporated. Once you start to hear a little crackling as the ham and greens start to fry add the vinegar and and cook until the liquid is evaporated. 

Check for salt and serve as a side or over grits with an egg. 


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