I have a great fondness for Southern food as my Father was born in the South and I had an ex-husband from there too, I got to enjoy some really great Southern food on my travels to Tennessee and South Carolina. One of the things I liked best was Greens cooked with Ham Hock and the other night I made a variation that, while not completely authentic, was wonderful! I had some Pancetta in the freezer from Trader Joe's, which is just a kind of Italian Ham and it is already cut up into a small dice. If I didn't have that, I would have used Country Ham or Bacon, but I was out of those. I sautéed the Pancetta with some Onions and Collard Greens. Then I added in some homemade Chicken Broth and let it cook for only about 1/2 the time so that the Greens had a bit more texture. A sprinkling of Pepper is all that it needed and I was happily eating Greens with some Cornbread on the side!
Almost Southern Collard Greens
1 bunch of Collard Greens
1 cup of Pancetta or Country Ham, diced
1/2 of a Yellow Onion, minced
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
3/4 - 1 1/2 cups of Chicken Broth (depending on how long you cook the Greens)
fresh ground Black Pepper to taste
Pull the Collard Greens off the Stems and cut them into bite sized pieces. Wash, drain in a colander and reserve.
In a sauté pan with 3 inch sides, heat the Oil and add in the Onion, cooking until you smell the fragrance. Add in the Pancetta or Country Ham and the Collard Greens. Cook, stirring until they wilt. Add in the Chicken Broth (3/4 cup if cooking for 20 - 30 minutes and 1 1/2 cups if cooking for up to one hour). Cover and put on simmer and cook for either 20 minutes or one hour. Sprinkle with Black Pepper before serving.
Five Element Analysis
Collard Greens are a leafy green Vegetable so you know that they have to belong to the Wood Element and the Chicken Broth adds even more. The Pancetta or Ham, as a salted meat brings in the Water Element and the Black Pepper adds just a hint of the Fire Element. This is a good side dish for a dinner that's missing both Wood and Water.