Keto Collard Greens
Collard greens are a way of life for me. Maybe it’s because I live in the South. Or, maybe it’s because I have the absolute best collard greens recipe in the South. That may sound like hyperbole, but, I’m serious. I’ve spent years perfecting the recipe and technique involved for crafting the perfect bowl of collard greens. To this day, every restaurant I go to that has collards on the menu, I try them. I haven’t had any yet that I think are as good as mine. Although, I have had a few that were very delicious, in which, they took the flavor in a little different direction from the classic vinegar and pepper combo.
Carolina Collard Greens
My Keto Collard Greens have their basis in the South Carolina collard tradition. That means that there are 3 main ingredients after the collards themselves: vinegar, pork, and some sort of pepper. With that base, I built upon what I thought was a good dish in order to make it a spectacular dish.
First, let’s tackle the pork. Typically you’ll see smoked ham hocks used. I’ve tried it this way and I don’t think this is the best way to go for two reasons. One is that a quality hardwood smoked bacon has a better richer flavor. Number two, the bacon renders fat. If there’s one thing that will make a dish like this taste better, it’s bacon fat. The bacon fat, while adding its own delicious flavor, also enhances the flavor of everything else in the pot. There’s a saying among chefs, fat is flavor. Bacon fat is the king of fat flavor.
The vinegar choice traditionally is either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Either is acceptable in a traditional bowl of Carolina collards. I use apple cider vinegar because it adds a little something extra to the overall flavor profile which brightens up the whole dish.
For pepper, you typically see crushed red pepper used. No need to change that. Crushed red pepper is delicious.
Now we come to the parts that I’ve changed up. I’ve added onion, garlic, smoked paprika, chicken stock, and red wine. All, except the red wine, you’re liable to possibly see in various other recipes, although uncommon. The addition of red wine is a bit different. I’ve never seen it used in a traditional collards recipe personally. But, it totally works. The red wine is used for two reasons. One is deglazing the pot before the collards are added which adds a great bit of flavor. The second is because the red wine makes the flavor profile complex, rich and unctuous. It takes a great recipe and makes it into an amazing recipe. There’s a reason that the French and Italians are always dumping wine into there food.
Breaking Down Your Collards
If you buy your collard greens by the bunch, as any self-respecting Southerner would do, you’re going to have to do a little knife work before they hit the pan. Breaking down collards is not hard at all. But, if you’ve never done it before you might want a little guidance. Simply cut out the thick part of the stem by running your knife up both sides next to the stem. Then just chop it off at the top of where you sliced up to. After you do that to six or so leaves, roll them all up together and slice them into strips. I clearly demonstrate this in the video below as well as the entire process from start to finish.
Keto Collard Greens are an amazing addition to your low carb kitchen. Collard greens are packed with nutrients and flavor. Make yourself a bowl today and add a little of the South to your supper.
If you want more Southern keto recipes try: Keto Pecan Pralines