Before the kale craze, there were collard greens, a go-to veggie in American Black households. The process of cleaning and prepping the greens is key for making them deliciously tender and tasty. Cut the leaves from the tough center rib before slicing—the thinner, the better. Collards are traditionally cooked with smoked meat like ham hocks or turkey wings, adding an extra dimension of flavor to the bitter greens.
Rinse and dry the collard greens. Cut each leaf in half, removing and discarding the center rib. Stack a few leaves on top of each other, tightly roll together and thinly slice. Continue with the remaining leaves. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add the smoked turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add the sliced collard greens, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder and onion powder; season with 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir to incorporate (a pair of tongs works great for this).
Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted, tender and darker in color, 30 to 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
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