Hearty collard greens require little more than heat and a bit of time to become incredibly delicious. (Or even just a sharp knife, if you want to serve them raw.) In the American South, where they are a culinary icon, collard greens are commonly cooked over many hours, mingling with smoked pork or turkey and tinged with vinegar, but there are countless preparations from communities around the world.
This collard greens recipe leaves out meat and goes heavy on garlic for flavor. The greens need to cook for at least an hour, but you can leave them unattended for most of that time. The finished dish will present you with plenty of potlikker, the earthy broth the greens and aromatics leave behind from all that simmering. Serve with crusty bread or cornbread for soaking up those flavorful juices, or reserve the liquid to sip on the next day as you would a broth.
If you want to get ahead, you can make this recipe a day or two in advance of serving and store it in the refrigerator. Just heat it up on the stove until it’s warmed through. Collards can also be made in an Instant Pot in about 30 minutes or less.
Editor’s note: This recipe was originally published October 16, 2017.
cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
bunches collard greens, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
tablespoon (or more) apple cider vinegar
Generous pinch of sugar