Slow-Cooked Greens

2 bunches mixed greens
3/4 cup bacon, 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup celery, 1/4 inch dice
2 cups onions, 1/4 inch dice
1 cup green bell pepper, 1/4 inch dice
1 ham hock
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup water
salt and black pepper to taste

  1. Pick over the greens to remove any tough stems, veins, and yellow leaves. Wash and drain thoroughly.
  2. Cut into 2-inch pieces and set aside.
  3. Cook the bacon over medium-high heat until fat has been rendered, brown but not crisp, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the celery, onion, and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium and add the greens. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are wilted, about 20 minutes.
  6. Add the ham hock, vinegar, and red pepper flakes; cover and cook 15 minutes.
  7. Add the water, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  8. Correct the seasoning.

Chef: Tasty, nice; finer cut greens would look more refined and make them easier to eat, could have cooked even longer to break down further.

Chef Tip: Could add orange or blood orange zest for flavor.

Personal/Team: The greens had a good flavor; vinegar helps enhance flavor well. We added some of the ham hock to top for garnish, I thought that worked nice because it looks good and adds a hint of flavor without overpowering the greens with meat.

Lessons Learned: you can cook the greens for a very long time on a slow heat and only enhance the flavor further, hard to "overcook." When starting the greens, use a large pan to hold them all, but as they reduce, change to a smaller pan to keep the moisture in better and keep the green covering the ham hock (maximize the flavor form the meat).