On the way to the farm today I saw a hand-painted with an arrow pointing down a little dirt road with one simple word upon it. “GREENS.” Collard Greens are a classic staple to any Southern table, but most especially as we ring in the new year. Growing up they were always on our New Years Day menu to symbolize financial growth + stability for the new year.
And in true New Year’s fashion, they’re best cooked loaded down with thick-cut bacon. As rumor has it, hogs root forward which symbolizes positive, forward motion and good luck in the New Year. I’ll take it.
To give our collards a bit more taste we love to add in applewood bacon. It really fills out the greens and adds an extra layer of flavor. And it’s a one-pan wonder, so they’re really easy to cook up, full of flavor. The juices from the bacon + onion cooking together adds an amazing flavor that you can’t get any other way.
COLLARD GREENS WITH APPLEWOOD BACON:
6 strips thick-sliced applewood bacon - sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds fresh collard greens - stems removed & sliced into 3-inch-wide strips
1 cup chicken broth
Using a large skillet heat bacon over medium heat. Chop onion and garlic and mix in as bacon cooks. Cook for a few minutes and as the onion begins to softened mix in the salt and pepper. Next add in the vinegar and allow mixture to cook until liquid is down to about half.
Add the collard greens and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the temp to medium-low. Stir the mixture occasionally, until the collard greens have wilted and lost their brightness.
Serve warm and with juices from the pan.
I hope you’ll try this recipe on New Years Day. Let me know what other traditions your family liked to do for the new year in the comments below.