Caucasian Curry

Caucasian Curry


these collards are the real deal, made with the simmering ham hocks and all. well, they're about as real as i know how being that i'm a girl who grew up in Newport Beach, CA. so now that i just admitted that, maybe they aren't so real after all, but the dish came out reeeeally tastey, and i can't wait to use those ugly ham hocks again...the rich smokey flavor is delicious and would lend itself to so many things. ya just don't get that same depth when you use just bacon. as you can see in the photo, i did use some bacon, but that was just because #1 i had some already cooked, and #2 because i thought it needed somemore meat action.

the broth...or liquor, as it's called, is a whole 'nuther story! i found myself slurpping up the last drops like a thirsty puppy. if you've ever worked with smoked ham hocks you know what i mean, but this was my first time. as a matter of fact, i just went to the market across town this morning to pick me up a few more of these babies. i can't wait to get started with them and try something new. i'm thinkin' some kind of smokey stew or thick rich soup.

the black eyed peas?...well, i did kinda cheat on those. i used canned, so the only one i cheated was myself. i think one of the main flavors of southern style beans is the slow soaking and cooking and infusing the flavor of the broth, or liquer, that they're cooked, yes i did cheat myself out of that step. i wanted my collards that night and the beans should be properly soaked over night. i couldn't wait. i know you can put the said beans in a pot, bring to a boil and remove from heat and let sit for an hour or two, but still i went for the can...i didn't miss anything, but i bet they would have been just that much better. next time.

this is what i did for these...
Southern-Style Collard GreensYields 8 servings
Collard greens are one of the oldest members of the cabbage family. This recipe is reminiscent of my mother's. She seemed to let her greens simmer away for hours! I make mine with ham hocks, which help tenderize the greens and add flavor, along with a little brown sugar to take away any bitterness. A lot of Southern families serve their greens with a side of bread to dip in the cooking broth, known as pot-likker. The broth is packed with vitamins and refers to the leftover "liquor" in the pot, after your greens have cooked. It not only tastes good — it's really good for you!
4 smoked ham hocks, 1 large onion, thinly sliced, 3 bay leaves, 4 pounds collard greens, Chicken stock or broth, or water, as needed, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Rinse the ham hocks and score the skin in several places. In a heavy 8- to 10-quart pot, combine the hocks, onion, and bay leaves with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the hocks are falling apart.
2. Remove the ham hocks from the cooking liquid and reserve the meat, discarding the bones, skin, and fat. Strain the cooking liquid, skim off the fat (i like to use cheese cloth with a strainer because it seems to grab some of the fat as well as strain thouroughly), and return it to the pot.
3. While the ham hocks are cooking, remove the stems from the collard greens and roughly chop; set aside. i rolled the leaves together and made 1 inch slices. your preference i suppose.
4. Add enough chicken stock or water to the cooking liquid to make 6 cups. Add the chopped collard greens, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, and reserved ham. here is were i added the black eyed peas. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the greens are very tender. Serve immediately.

"immediately" is B's rule...i had no idea, being this was my first time with greens, how long this was going to take and i was done quite a bit early, so i ended up reheating and, of course, no harm no foul. i even think they were better and better each day they hung out in all the smokey ham hock goodness. i also added some precooked crispy bacon...for good measure. you know my rule...a little, or alot, of bacon never hurt anything....

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