Admittedly, I don’t know a whole lot about Southern soul food. I’ve lived in the North East my entire life, so my knowledge of fried chicken, grits and chicken fried steak is limited. One thing I do know, it’s delicious.
When we lived in Harlem we would sometimes go to Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread Too, a restaurant well-known for its comfort food. To be brutally honest, I didn’t think the fried chicken was very good. From what I recall it was soggy and lacking flavor. Maybe I got a bad batch, but just sayin. What I do remember is how good the collard greens were. I had never had them before and was blown away by the salty, porky, homemade flavor. Just.so.good.
Well, I decided I wanted to try my hand at this Southern staple. Keep in mind, this is not Paula Deen’s recipe. It’s quick cooking, wholesome and utilizes on-hand ingredients (I don’t think I’ve ever actually purchased a ham hock). While I love the concept of slow-cooking, I hate the thought of boiling out all those nutrients! Collards are exceptionally good for you, full of vitamins and minerals. These only cook for a few minutes, maximizing their nutritional profile, but still having loads of flavor from the maple, ham and vinegar.
Just don’t tell Paula Deen what I said. P.S. If you haven’t watched this video of Paula Deen on ludes, please do.
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 large onion, 1/2 normal
3 slices good deli ham
2 garlic cloves
1 bunch collard
1.5 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1.) Saute onion, garlic and ham until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
2.) Meanwhile strip the collard greens of their stems and cut into strips. Soak them in a bowl of water to clean, then drain very well.
3.) Add the collards to the pot. Cook, turning frequently, for about 5-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
4.) Finish with the maple syrup and vinegar. Add more salt if needed.