International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Southern Greens

Collard greens

(American Southern-Soul simmered leafy greens)

Image Creative Commons by kschlot1

Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Greens are an longstanding staple food in the American South. It began as an American dish when slaves took the tops of turnips and beets — discarded after harvest — and slow simmered them in a pot, often with a ham hock thrown in for flavor.

Collards gradually came to be the favored green, although other greens, including kale and mustard greens, are often used. Greens have high quantities of vitamins and minerals.

Serve greens as a good luck dish for New Year's. Their color resembles money, and they may help you earn more of it in the coming year.

4 to 6 portions


  • Oil, lard or bacon fat -- 3 tablespoons
  • Onion, chopped or minced -- 1
  • Leafy greens, destemmed and chopped -- 2 pounds
  • Water or stock -- 1 to 2 cups
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste


  1. Heat the oil, lard or bacon fat over medium-high flame in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the greens in batches, sautéing and stirring each addition until it is fully wilted.
  2. Add the water or stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently until tender, from 25 to 45 minutes depending on the type of green.
  3. Adjust seasoning and serve with a little bit of the broth, or "potlikker." Pass Tabasco or Pickapeppa sauce at the table to let each diner season to taste.

Southern Greens Variations

  • Some of the possible greens to use for this dish: beet, chard, chicory, collard, dandelion, kale, mustard, turnip.
  • Add a smoked ham hock or turkey tail for extra flavor.
  • Add a big pinch of sugar to the simmering greens and finish with a touch of vinegar if you like.
  • Brazil: Couve à Mineira: Follow above recipe using collard greens and kale. Chop the greens finely before cooking. Serve as an accompaniment to feijoada.

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