Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bacon & Ham Braised Greens


I became enamored of braised greens several years ago on a trip to Georgia, when I visited my niece, Aylin, and her husband, Danny.  Gracious hosts that they were, we were treated to a true southern meal at a local diner, Home Spun, and from that day on, I was hooked on greens! When I got back home, I started trying to reproduce the collard greens I had at that little diner and, it took some time to get it right and eventually I did!  Now I know what you are thinking, ugh... greens, right?  Nooooo, I promise, no ughs here!  We are using smokey bacon, ham, ham hocks and shanks, rich stock, and letting them all braise with your greens of choice for hours in a slow cooker. What you get is smokey-bacon-ham-y goodness that you can eat alone or over pasta, beans, legumes or my favorite with a loaf of toasted french bread and white wine. Yes, I admit it! I will eat a whole loaf of bread with these braised greens and (sheepishly) a whole bottle of white wine, it's that good! Okay, so have I convinced you to give greens a chance? I hope so!

Serves 4 (or 2 if it's a meal)

Half a package of smoked center cut bacon (or turkey bacon if you want to save on fat)
1 pound of greens (collards, turnips, mustard, kale or a combination of all)
2 ham hocks, scored
1 large smoked ham shank
8 oz slice of ham, cut into cubes
4 cups chicken or ham stock
4-5 shakes of liquid smoke
2-3 grates of nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste (add at the end of cooking time)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F  

Place bacon slices on a parchment lined baking sheet. Do not overlap. Bake 15-20 minutes for regular center cut bacon or 5-7 minutes for turkey bacon. Allow to cool and cut into large dice.
Place all ingredients into slow cooker, except salt & pepper (and yes, add in a few tablespoons of the bacon drippings). Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
Taste for seasoning. Salt & pepper to taste.

Serve as a side dish, or over pasta, rice, grains or cooked legumes such as; lentils or beans such as; great northern white or chick peas. The possibilities are endless. Or my favorite ... toasted french bread and white wine. Enjoy!


  1. Delicious! This is a main dish on its own:) We 'll get a good traditional load of bread and dig in to this as soon as possible!:) Thank you Jackie!

    1. That is my favorite way to eat this dish... Lots of bread :-)