How To Cook Collard Greens in the Slow Cooker
Makes 4 quarts
Serves 16 to 20
- 5 pounds
fresh collard greens (4 pounds when stemmed and chopped)
- 6 ounces
smoky bacon, diced
Bacon fat or vegetable oil, as needed
large onion, finely chopped (about 3 cups)
- 1 tablespoon
- 6 cups
rich chicken stock, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup
apple cider vinegar, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup
packed dark brown sugar, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon
crushed dried chipotle chile or red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 pounds
smoked turkey wings
6-to 8-quart slow cooker
Stem and chop the greens: Use your hands to strip the leaves off the stems. Discard the stems and any yellowed or mushy leaves. You should wind up with around 4 pounds of leaves. Working the batches, stack about 10 leaves. Starting on a long side, roll the stack into a cylinder, and cut it crosswise to make ribbons that are 1-inch wide.
Clean the collards: Wash the collards and let drain until needed.
Cook the bacon: Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat until rendered and browned, about 8 minutes. Tilt the pot to pool the fat. If there is less than 1/4 cup, add more bacon fat or oil to make up the difference.
Cook the onion: Add the onion and salt. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the stock and seasoning: Stir in 6 cups of the stock, vinegar, brown sugar, pepper, and crushed chili flakes. Bring to a low boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Wilt the collards: Working in batches, add collards to the pot, gently stirring until they wilt, about 2 minutes. Use a spider, slotted spoon, or tongs to transfer the wilted collards to a large (6- to 8-quart) slow cooker.
Add the turkey legs: When all of the wilted collards are in the slow cooker, add the turkey wings and push them down into the greens. Pour the liquid from the pot into the slow cooker; it should come level with the top of the collards, so add more if needed.
Slow-cook the collards: Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours. Do not lift the lid during the first 2 hours of cooking. When done, the collards should be fully tender and velvety. The collards are now cooked, but not finished.
Remove the turkey wings: Remove the turkey wings, taking care to remove any skin and bones that might have slipped off during cooking. You can pull the meat from the turkey wings and return it to the collards, if you like.
Season the potlikker: Taste the potlikker to ensure it is bold and balanced. Stir in salt, pepper, hot sauce, vinegar, and/or brown sugar, to taste. Because it mixes in immediately, it is better to add more heat with hot sauce instead of pepper flakes at this point. Use smoked paprika to enhance the smoky flavor, or add chipotle hot sauce to increase both spice and smoke.
Smoked turkey substitute: Smoked ham hocks can be substituted for the turkey wings.
Storage: Store leftovers into airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.