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Collard Greens with Side Meat, Virginia-style
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Collard Greens with Side Meat, Virginia-style

This recipe was prepared by Chef John Maxwell on Real Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau’s weekly television program.

Maxwell, a certified executive chef, culinary educator and member of the American Academy of Chefs, shares delicious seasonal recipes in a Real Virginia segment sponsored by Virginia Grown, a program of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.


Collard Greens with Side Meat, Virginia-style

3 tablespoons lard or shortening
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves
6 cups chicken, pork or vegetable stock
1½ pounds smoked ham hocks
2½ cups apple cider or apple cider vinegar
1-3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 larger bunch collard greens, about 2 pounds, coarsely chopped, stems stripped out and reserved
2 teaspoons seasoned salt, or to taste


In a 6-quart stockpot over medium heat, melt the lard. Add onion and garlic, and stir until tender but not brown. Turn off or lower heat until lard and contents stop sizzling, but don’t let them cool all the way down.

Add 2 cups stock, and bring heat back up to medium. As it heats, add ham hocks, apple cider or apple cider vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Add sugar if desired.

While liquid returns to a simmer, add the collard stems to the pot. They need longer to cook and will be removed at the end, but they add plenty of flavor.

Bring mixture to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes.

Add remaining stock and collards. Simmer for 1 hour.

Remove stems from pot, add seasoned salt, and serve collards in a bowl with some of the stock liquid.

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