Collard Greens


  • 1 gallon water
  • ½ pound smoked pork neck bones
  • 1 bunch (about 8 plants, or 5 pounds uncleaned) greens
  • 1 dried hot pepper (optional)


Put the water and smoked pork in a pot and boil, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, until the water is pleasantly flavored. In the meantime, clean the collards as described in the preceding section on greens. You will end up with only about 3 pounds of greens since the stems of collards are very tough and must be discarded.

Tear the greens into pieces about the size of your palm and add them to the water, with the hot pepper if desired. Simmer the greens, uncovered, until they are very soft, or to taste. Collards can take as long as 2 hours. Other greens will cook in much less time. Serve with hot pepper vinegar.

Leftover greens are delicious reheated in a frying pan with roasted peanuts and crushed red peppers—a dish at once African, Southeast Asian, and Lowcountry in flavor and spirit.