Soulful Slow-Cooked Collard Greens with Smoked Ham Hocks: A Southern Delight

Nov 13, 2023 | Main Courses


Prep Time

Cooking Time

15 minutes
2 hours


  • 2 pounds of collard greens, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 pound of smoked ham hocks
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Collard Greens Image


Begin by setting the stage for this culinary journey. Picture yourself transported to a plantation in the American South, where time moved slowly, and the rhythm of life intertwined with food traditions.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic, stirring until they turn caramelized and fragrant, a testament to the layering of flavors to come.

Nestle the smoked ham hocks into the pot, allowing them to release their smoky charm. Let them simmer alongside the onions and garlic for a few minutes, infusing their essence into the dish.

Now, it’s time to introduce the star of the show – the collard greens. Add the chopped greens to the pot, layering them gently over the ham hocks, onions, and garlic. Watch as they wilt and meld with the aromatics, becoming a vibrant green canvas for flavor exploration.

Sprinkle in the smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt, allowing each pinch to dance upon the canvas like brushstrokes of flavor, infusing depth and warmth into every mouthful.

Pour in the apple cider vinegar and 4 cups of broth, elevating the dish with a harmonious balance of acidity and richness. Let the pot come to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low.

The soul of this dish lies in its slow, patient cooking. Allow the collard greens to simmer for at least 2 hours, or until the meat on the ham hocks is tender and easily falls off the bone. This slow dance of flavors will leave you yearning for more.

Once the ham hocks have reached their peak tenderness, remove them from the pot and shred the meat, discarding any excess fat and bones. Return the meat to the pot, stirring it into the luscious collard greens with a touch of love and dedication.

Taste the incredible transformation that has taken place within the pot, adjusting the seasoning if needed. Remember that food is a symphony of personal preferences, so don’t be afraid to add a dash more spice or a pinch more salt to amplify your own taste symphony.

Gradually turn off the flame and allow the collard greens to rest for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to mingle and deepen further. It’s time to serve this humble masterpiece, one that bridges cultures and tells a story with every bite.

Collard Greens Image

Optional Variations:

  1. For a vegetarian twist, replace the ham hocks with smoked tofu or tempeh. The smoky flavor will still pervade the dish, creating a vegetarian marvel.
  2. To infuse an exotic touch, add a teaspoon of ground cumin or turmeric to the pot, inviting a hint of mystery from far-off lands.


In sharing this recipe for tender collard greens slow-cooked with smoked ham hocks, onions, and spices, I hope to honor the historical significance and cultural impact of this soulful dish. Whether you gather around a table with loved ones or embark on your own culinary expedition, these collard greens will fill your heart and soul with a tapestry of flavors, reminding us all of the power of food to connect us to our shared heritage. Enjoy each bite, as it will transport you to a time and place where stories unfold, nourishing both body and soul.

Collard Greens Image

Main Courses > Soulful Slow-Cooked Collard Greens with Smoked Ham Hocks: A Southern Delight

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