Greens have always had a symbolic role on the Southern table. A pot of greens is the food of the fields, of grandmas and of barbecues. It’s a dish rooted in both the black South and the white South, but one that unites every Southerner in the communion of the table. At Thanksgiving, soft greens with a kiss of pork are a natural part of the lineup.
Hayden and Erica Hall are Mississippi natives who left Clarksdale, the birthplace of the blues, for bigger cities. He worked for chefs like Wolfgang Puck. She worked on Capitol Hill. Together, the couple returned home in 2010 to open Oxbow Restaurant. They offer this recipe, in which collard greens are braised in amber ale. (They like Yalobusha Copperhead from Water Valley, Miss.) The ale is essential, as is a ham hock. Red pepper flakes and apple cider vinegar give the greens a sharp edge, a welcome respite on a bland plate of turkey and potatoes.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Kosher salt, as needed
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 12 ounces American amber ale (such as Yalobusha Copperhead Amber Ale)
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 3 bunches (about 3 pounds) collard greens, thoroughly washed, stems removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
- Black pepper, as needed
- Nutritional Information
Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.
Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)
263 calories; 12 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 15 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 5 grams sugars; 20 grams protein; 46 milligrams cholesterol; 1104 milligrams sodium
- Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and just starting to color, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add 1 teaspoon salt, the red pepper flakes and the brown sugar; stir to combine. Add beer and cook, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add 2 cups water, the apple cider vinegar, the ham hock and the collard greens; stir to combine. Cover pot, raise heat to high, and bring to a rolling boil. Stir collards thoroughly to incorporate flavors, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring every 30 minutes, until collards reach desired tenderness, at least 30 minutes but preferably up to 2 hours. Remove ham hock; pull off and chop meat and return to pan, or discard if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
1 to 2 1/2 hours