Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Yummy Collard Greens... I'm Not Lying!

One of the hardest parts and worst things about having a military life is saying "Good-bye" to friends.  You move to new places and meet new people and make new friendships.  That's the fun part.  Then at some point, either you get orders and move or they do, or they retire or just separate.  Moves are inevitable for everyone.  They are usually happier for the one leaving than for the one being left behind.  I think it true weather you are in the military or not.  Whenever loved ones, friends or family, move it can be sad to see them leave. 
We have been here for about 1 1/2 years now.  And right now we are getting hit hard with people moving away.  Everyone from my hair dresser to our go-to babysitter to hubby's co-workers to a very good friend to neighbors.  Some have already left and some will leave within the next few months.  It seems like everyone around us are leaving, except us.  Boo! 
Old people out, new people in.  That is the ever changing cycle of base life in the military.  Sometimes it's good, sometimes not so much.  I'm hoping that we'll meet some new friends and maybe even some great ones.  Here's hoping!
Today's recipe is one I got from a great friend that just left recently for Germany.  She is going to be greatly missed!  She was like me and always trying new recipes and loved sharing them.  She made these Collard Greens and they were the first I'd ever had.  They were so good!  They have a good kick of spice to them that adds just the right touch.  It does make a lot, so if you think you'll be savoring them yourself, like I did, then you might want to half the recipe.  Or freeze leftovers in zip-lock bags or freezer safe containers.  Don't be scared!  Give these a try!

So good, it really is more of meal than a side if you ask me!
Collard Greens

4 lbs collard greens (about 4 bunches) (I actually had Kale and used it in place of the collards and they worked perfect too!)
3 T olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 large ham hocks (about 2 lbs), cooked (I couldn't find just ham hocks in the store, so I bought a bone-in sliced ham and managed 2 meals.  A ham dinner and then used the bone hock for these!)
2 bay leaves
2 quarts chicken broth
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 T sugar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (If you like a good kick of spice add a little more)
seasoned salt

Clean your greens.  Remove stems and wash thoroughly to get rid of any grit.  Dry well.  Cut or tear into ribbon-like pieces (Or cut into small leaves if using kale).

Coat a large stockpot with oil and place over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, stir, add the ham hock(s) and bay leaves.  Cook about 8 minutes.  Start to pack in the greens, pushing them down into the pot.  Add in broth, vinegar and remaining ingredients. 

Bring to a hard boil for 10 minutes, until greens begin to wilt without stirring.  Turn the greens over with a wooden spoon, do not stir.  Lower to a gentle boil, cover the pot and let cook for 45 minutes.  Taste the "pot liquor" or broth and season as needed.  Cover and let simmer for another 15 minutes.

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