Wash collard under running water if using fresh. Cut collards leaves from near stem, Crush and chop stems and place in separate container. Cover with 2 1/2 cups water, and ham hock.Bring to rolling boil in stainless steel saucepan with tight fitting lid.Lower heat to simmer and cook 20 minutes until stems are tender. Meanwhile jullianne collard leaves. Fry 4 slices of thick smoked black pepper until crisp. Set aside on paper towels. Saute red onion in 2 teaspoons bacon grease until limp. Add collard greens. Saute 10 minutes. Drain liquid from stems Should be about a cup of liquid. Pour over greens with the softened stems.Divide ham hock. Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash Spicy Blend, brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup; cover with tight fitting saucepan lid and allow to simmer 25 to 35 minutes until tender..Last 5 minutes of cooking add crumbled bacon and stir to mix. Serve with hot sauce and cornbread if desired. I add sliced peeled turnips to collards during last 10 minutes of simmering.
I've never made collards before. This recipe is OK and they came out as expected, though a little sweet for my taste. It is hard for me to imagine an "outstanding" collard dish... It would be helpful to know this makes a large quantity -- enough for 8-10 people, I would estimate. Also the recipe doesn't say whether to chop, julienne, or tear the leaves before cooking. I simply tore them into large pieces, but maybe there is a better way. The liquid does not cook away; you're left with a lot of the broth. I used a processor to chop the onions and they were so fine that they were part of the sauce. Next time I'd chop slightly more coarsely.
Not even the ingredient substitutions from my un-stocked kitchen could tarnish this recipe! For the substitutions I used some random kinds of chili powders, rice vinegar, olive oil, and chicken broth. The only things I actually had right were the collards and the red onion. Collards are simply, unstoppably good!