Fred Thompson is a chef and food author from Raleigh, North Carolina. His mother's recipe for collard greens is a southern classic but one that she held secret for 20 years. Joey joins Fred and his son-in-law Kyle at their home to prepare this delicious recipe. Fred's 86-year-old mother would trekked from Greensboro to Smithfield every collard season to the same farmer's field to pick and cut her own collards. Not just any collards, but cabbage collards, a variety that's a bit sweeter. She would fill her trunk and spend days cooking and freezing the cooked collards. Her secret was shining the greens — taking the white stuff that rises to the top of the pot and add it back to the collards. Fred says it is essential to great collards.
His son-in-law Kyle, a local chef, won a local collard cooking contest with a recipe similar to his mom's. For more information visit www.harvardcommonpress.com.
Fred is coming out with a new cookbook this spring. Check out his YouTube video — "Grilling with Gas."
Here is the recipe for what they made.
Frostbitten Collard Greens
Time: 4 hours
4 strips thick cut bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 quart of water, vegetable broth or low sodium chicken broth
4 cloves of peeled garlic, left whole
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 large meaty smoked ham hock, or if you must a smoked turkey part
2 bunches, about 5 pounds, cabbage collards, cleaned in several rinses of water and stems removed, and roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly grounded black pepper to taste
Additional vinegar, and hot sauce if desired
Place a stockpot over low heat. Add the bacon and slowly cook to render the fat. When the bacon is crisp, remove and reserve.
Cook the onion in the bacon drippings until "lazy" and slightly colored, about 5 minutes, Pour in the liquid and the remaining ingredients except the collards. Increase your heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and continue cooking for 20 minutes. This is the "pot likker".
Add in the collards, a handful at a time, stirring each addition until wilted. Believe it or not they will all go in the pot. Cook over low heat for 2 hours or until tender.
Remove the hock and let cool. Drain the collards reserving the liquid. Place the liquid in the refrigerator for a quick cool down.
Chopped the collards if desired. Taste for salt and pepper. Break apart the hock, separating fat and meat and finely dice the meat and stir into the collards. Remove the "pot likker" and skim the white stuff off the top and stir into the collards. Reserve the liquid for dipping cornbread.
Transfer the collards to a bowl, and top with the crisp bacon. Serve with a bottle of vinegar and hot sauce for the table. Freeze any leftovers.