Collard Greens

Photo: Kang Kim. Illustration by John Burgoyne.

If you neglected to eat your collards on New Year’s Day, an act that superstitious Southerners believe will bring you riches untold—or at least better your odds of winning the Lotto—consider the humble green’s other benefits: It’s fairly bursting with beta carotene, vitamin C, folate, and iron, no slouch in the fiber department, and as far as calcium is concerned, it’s practically off the charts. In short, Popeye’s spinach has nothing on collard greens. Not that any of that matters to Charles Gabriel of Charles’ Southern Style Kitchen, whose collards recipe includes smoked turkey wings and plenty of butter. For him, flavor is everything.

Charles Gabriel’s Long-Cooked Collards With Smoked Turkey

1 pound smoked turkey wings or drumstick (available at supermarkets or at Greenmarket’s DiPaola Turkey Farms and Quattro’s Game Farm stands)
8 cups water
3 bunches (approximately 4 pounds) collards
4 ounces butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar

Put the turkey wings or drumstick in a large pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down and cook for 90 minutes. Meanwhile, clean the collards. (1) Stem the leaves. (2) Roll up a few leaves at a time, and cut them crosswise into ½-inch strips. Remove the turkey from the pot, pull the meat away from the bones, and carefully strain the stock of any errant bones. Discard the bones and tear the meat into small pieces and stir it back into the pot. Add the butter, the chopped onion, and all the seasoning to the pot. (3) Add the collards a few handfuls at a time, stirring them until all the greens are in the pot. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Remove collards from pot with slotted spoon. Serves 4 to 6.

Collard Greens