When doing research for my book Hog and Hominy, I found that collard greens have a long association with black folks and religion dating back to West and Central Africa. Sources dated before the 1800s show that Mande women from West Africa commonly served fried chicken together with collard greens and dumplings. During the antebellum period enslaved African only had time to make sides dishes such as collard greens on Sundays. Masters gave their slaves off on Sundays and on few holidays and religious days. I also found that in the Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, and Carolina regions, though each unique, were united in their cuisines by the habit of using smoked salt pork to season fibrous greens, which required extensive cooking to make them tender and easy to digest. Labor demands in these agricultural regions did insure that most southerners burned lots of calories from their salt-pork-laden diets. Today I suggest a pork free recipe for our more sedentary lifestyle in which we retain more calories then we burn.
Vegan Collard Green Recipe:
Wash the collards good in plenty of slightly salted water
Start out with 3 bunches which will serve 6 people, they are big bug the cook down like spinach. I steam mine in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes until the fibrous leaves are easy to eat. Steaming preserves the water soluble vitamins that are killed when you just boil the greens down like most of my ancestors have done for years.
Remove the collards from the pressure cooker and save the water to make the pot-licker
Season the water with 3 cubes of vegetable bullion, dried bay leaf, dried red pepper flakes, little vinegar, and some honey. Had a little liquid smoke which most grocery stores sell if you like that smoked meat flavor (the traditional recipe calls for a smoked ham hock or a hunk of smoked fat back).
The pot-licker is full of vitamins and great seasoning for the greens
Sauté the steamed greens with chopped onions and garlic in olive oil with your preferred seasonings like pepper, salt, etc.
Add sautéed greens to the pot-licker and let them marinade for 30 or more before serving
Traditional Pork Lovers Collard Green Recipe: