Ham Hocks Collards

Ham Hocks and Collards

1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

3 smoked ham hocks (about 2 pounds)

1-2 quarts water or chicken stock

2 lbs. collard greens

2 quarts water plus 1 Tbsp. salt

4 cups fresh or frozen black-eyed peas

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

2 tsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Heat the oil or butter in a large, heavy saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and ham hocks and saute until golden brown.

Cover with water or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes to an hour.

While the hocks simmer, wash the greens thoroughly and remove the toughest part of the stems.

Bring 2 quarts lightly salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the greens, stir and cover; cook about 2 minutes.

Rinse with cold water to stop the greens from cooking. Squeeze out excess water and roughly chop. Set aside.

When the ham hocks begin to tender up some, take them out and pull off all the meat you can, chop it up and add it back.

Give the bones to the dogs.

Add the black-eyed peas, black pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme, brown sugar, cider vinegar and collards. Continue cooking about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve. 

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