To the uninitiated, collard greens can seem like a formidable project. They are big, leafy, bitter and leathery. But with a little TLC, collards will cook down into a rich, flavorful side that’s nourishing, satisfying, and teams up with bacon spectacularly well.
If you want to take your greens from an already yummy side dish to an off-the-charts featured plate, here’s a little secret: make them with Smoked Lardons! These tasty bite-sized palette pleasers boost the YUM! factor in everything from vegetables and salads to pastas to cocktails. (To learn more about Lardons, read “All You Need to Know About Lardons”.) When cooked into greens, they’ll elevate the entire dish with smoky umami rich flavor and decadent texture from the rendered fats and thick cut morsels. Sure, your ribs and cornbread will be delicious, but it’ll be the greens that keeps them coming back for seconds and thirds!
Collard Greens with Smoked Lardons
Side Dish / Appetizer
8 oz package of Smoked Lardons
1-1/2 medium red onion, chopped coarse
2 medium garlic cloves
3/4 - 1 c chicken broth
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp firmly-packed dark brown sugar
2 pounds of collard greens. Wash, drain, cut and trim the collard greens, removing the tough stems. Roughly chop the trimmed greens into 1/2-inch ribbons.
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
In a deep heavy pot or dutch oven, cook lardons to desired crispiness and transfer to paper towels to drain.
Pour off all but about 1 tbsp of the drippings and then cook onions, stirring occasionally, until browned slightly and softened. Transfer onions to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
Add in chicken broth, vinegar, brown sugar, (optional: red pepper flakes), S&P, and about half of bacon, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Add about half of collards, tossing until slightly wilted, then add remaining collards, tossing until combined. Simmer collards, covered, for 30 minutes.
Stir in onions and simmer, covered, 30 minutes more, or until collards are very tender.
Serve collards topped with remaining lardons and some of the juice from the pan.
Devour and enjoy!