A quintessential southern dish, served with black-eyed peas and cornbread.
Rinse and wash greens—pulling off stems and ribs. Make sure to get all the grit off each leaf. This can take time. Put the greens and onion in a large pot with the ham hocks and cover with water. Add salt and red pepper flakes. Cook for one hour, till soft.
Serve with cider vinegar and pepper flakes on the side and with cornbread. Many southerners like to dip their cornbread into the pot liquor, or pot likker.
Tips & Glossary
Basic southern cuisine differs from its Cajun, Creole, and Southwestern cousins in its lack of hot spices. As a result, it's rich but mild—the ultimate in comfort food!
• Crabmeat: meat from the body, legs or claws of numerous varieties of crab. Most prized is jumbo lump from the hind leg. But for crab cakes and casseroles, use regular lump, as well as finback from the body. Claw meat is brown and stronger flavored, though also good for crab recipes. Buy it fresh if you can.
• Greens: a staple in Southern cooking, they're in the cabbage family and include kale, collards, turnip, spinach, and mustard greens. Usually served with black-eyed peas and cornbread to sop up the pot likker.
• Grits: another staple of Southern cooking: coarsely ground corn, cooked as porridge. Once cooked, grits are served plain, baked in a casserole, fried or deep-fried as a fritter. (Think polenta.)
• Pie Crust: store bought crusts are fine. But for the skilled (or more daring) among you, make your own. Here's our recipe—Noel's Pie Crust.
• Yams: a type of sweet potato with an elongated shape and deep orange flesh. A true yam is grown in Africa and Asia is actually quite different from what Americans call yams.
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