James' grandmother Mimi always added a knob of butter to her onions to boost the flavor as they browned in oil, and then simmered the greens slowly, adding water as needed to keep them submerged. For serving, James says, "I use my large, enameled cast-iron stew pot. It keeps the greens warm and offers a nice presentation."
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)
1 smoked ham hock (about 12 oz.)
3 (1-lb.) packages fresh collard greens, washed, trimmed, and cut into thin strips
1/4 to 1/2 cup diced jarred jalapeño peppers, drained (optional)
How to Make It
Melt butter with oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add ham hock, and gently stir.
Add half of collards and 2 cups water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Add remaining collards and 8 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 2 hours. Stir in jalapeño peppers, if desired. Add table salt and black pepper to taste, and serve with pepper sauce.