Collard Greens

Braised Collard Greens

Collard Greens

Growing up, cooking collard greens before the holidays or Sunday dinner always seemed like such a long process. My grandmother would create a small assembly line to pick the greens, wash away all of the sand, and small snails laying between the leaves and rinsing for cooking.  As I got older, I was very hesitant to even try to make a pot until I realized how easy it is to braise one of my favorite southern veggies. 

The cleaning process is the most important part of making collards greens. One sandy leaf and you will have a pot of gritty greens. This reason is why my grandmother always said not to eat at everyone’s home (lol). I like to start off by submerging the greens in cold water with a tablespoon of baking soda or a few dots of gentle dishwashing soap. My trick is to always submerge and rinse the greens at least 3 to 4 times- this is how I ensure that the water is clean and free of any soap or soda residue. Next, I use a knife or my finger to remove the stem before stacking the leafs and cutting them into my desired size (usually 1 inch strips).


  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 3 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 3 to 4 bunches of collard greens
  • 2 to 3 lbs of smoked meat
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 3 tsp granulated garlic 
  • 3 tsp granulated onion
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste


  1. Start with the base flavor. My family has always taught me to make greens with smoked meats. They add a distinct flavor to veggies and the smokiness is undefeated. In college, finding smoked meats wasn’t always easy so I would substitute for fresh bacon. My preferred meat is smoked turkey parts. You can also choose smoked pork parts. Start by heating 2 tbsp of vegetable oil over medium heat. I like to add a medium onion that has been peeled and chopped as well as minced garlic.
  2. Next, I like to add chicken broth or chicken bouillon with a cup or two of water to prevent the bottom of the pot from scorching. I also like to add in my garlic powder, onion powder, and crushed red pepper. At this point, I add in whatever smoked meat (in this case, a smoked turkey leg) I have chosen to use and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the collard greens to the pot with smoked meat. Add in vinegar and sugar and pushed the greens down into the pot during the wilting process. They may not all fit at first, but as they cook down- you will find that there will be plenty of room.
  4. Cover the pot and allow the greens to simmer for 2 hours or until the smoked meat has fallen off the bone. Serve immediately and tag @elle.thefoodie in your pics!


Instapot Instructions

  1. Follow cleaning instructions above.
  2. Turn instapot on the highest sear setting and cook onions until soft. Add smoked meat and brown on all sides.
  3. Add 2 cups of chicken broth (to start), seasonings, and greens to the instapot and turn on the pressure cook setting.
  4. Cook on high setting for 12 minutes. After the 10 minutes are finished, allow the instapot natural release the pressure for 10 minutes. Quick-release the remaining pressure. If the smoked meat is not tender, pressure cook for 6 more minutes. If tender and the greens are fully cooked serve warm!


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