Cooking Up a Mess of Collards

My friend Joyce and I met for lunch at a charming restaurant in Statesville named Bristol. I ordered a side of collards. Then I ordered a second helping to share. The owner was nice enough to briefly outline her method of cooking collards.

This has lead to several experiments in my tiny kitchen. Each experiment has yielded better results than the last. I have tweaked the steps a bit each time. All versions were tasty, but this is the best so far. I told Joyce I would share the results on my blog

STEP ONE: Fry bacon in the big pot you plan to cook the collards in. (One pot is easier to clean than two.)

  • STEP TWO: Finely chop half an onion.
  • STEP THREE: Take out the bacon but leave in the grease. Let the grease cool. Saute’ the onion in the bacon grease.
  • STEP FOUR: Cut up washed collard leaves. I use scissors and remove the main stem/midrib of each leaf. (Compost these please.)
  • STEP FIVE: Cool the onions. Add some beef broth and cut collards into the pan. Use enough broth to halfway cover the collards.
  • STEP SIX: Slow cook on low. Periodically stir and smash the leaves down under the liquid.
  • STEP SEVEN: After a few hours, add teaspoons of cayenne pepper and tablespoons of molasses. Taste after two.
  • STEP EIGHT: Stir and simmer until leaves are limp and no longer bright green. Crumble the cooked bacon into the pot. Serve in bowls with the liquid. You will want to drink this pot-liquor. It is full of vitamins.

The secrets to the ‘Bristol’ recipe are the bacon grease, the cayenne pepper and the molasses. This combo made me lick my hot, slick lips in public. Good thing we were at an outside table.

This is southern comfort food folks. Enjoy!


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8 thoughts on “Cooking Up a Mess of Collards

  1. I was introduced to collards in Liberia. There, the technique is to stack the collards on top of each other, roll the stack tightly like a cigar, and then slice them very finely. The other ingredients differed somewhat — no bacon there! — but collards go very well with palm oil, onions, and red pepper.


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