Collards are my favorite. They take on flavor so well and become tender with long slow cooking. Plus they are one of the few cooked veggies that taste better the next day.
I used to make them on the stove in a big stock pot and then one day it occurred to me that using a slow cooker would be even better.
I don’t think I’ll go back to the stove top method again unless I absolutely have to. The slow cooker is the perfect vessel for collards!
Prepping collards for the slow cooker is simple and doesn’t take much time at all. Can easily be done in the morning before work or early on a Sunday morning to have ready in time for Sunday Supper. I love having the collards with some ham hock for some extra smokey goodness.
Andrea’s Slow Cooker Collards with Ham Hock
- 4 Bunches of Collards, rinsed, stemmed, and chopped
- 1-2 Ham Hocks (depending on how much you want)
- 1 Large Onion, Sliced
- 2tsp Kosher Salt
- 2tsp Black Pepper
- 2TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
- Water, enough to fill the slow cooker to the top (about 8C or slightly more)
- 3tsp Hot Sauce
- 1TBSP Maple Syrup
In a large crock pot add in the ham hocks, collards, and onion. Then add in the apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add in water, enough to fill the slow cooker to just about the top. Give the collards a good stir and set the slow cooker to low.
Cook for about 6-8 hours.
When collards are done, remove the ham hocks and set aside. Using a colander, strain the collards as much as possible. Place the collards back into the slow cooker and turn the slow cooker off. Shred the meat off the ham hocks and add that back in with the collards. Add in the hot sauce and maple syrup. Toss until everything is well combined.
Serve up immediately and enjoy!
This makes a lot because we love having leftovers. I’ve been known to eat the leftovers for breakfast the next day. Also? Collards on top of a waffle with a little more maple syrup is an amazing breakfast. Promise.
This can be a hearty side dish or you can make it a main dish by adding in some more veggies (carrots, zucchini?) and some beans. I think white beans paired with collards is a tasty combo.
Of course you can make this a completely vegetarian side dish by removing the ham hocks.
When straining the collards, you can reserve the broth to use for another time. Perhaps as a base for some soup? Or you can freeze the broth in ice cube trays and use them when you want to add a little more flavor to another dish.
Even during the warmer months, a big pile of collards will make just about everyone happy!
Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!