Collard Greens are essential to your holiday spread and they also double as a great weeknight side dish! The greens are cooked until silky and tender in the fat rendered from both bacon and pancetta. There are other ingredients in the mix like garlic, honey and more that make this veggie side dish the star of any plate it’s served on!
This veggie side dish is so unbelievably good, it’s hard to believe that it’s actually pretty good for you, too. Well, it is cooked in bacon and pancetta fat, so it may not technically be the most healthy thing for you… But it’s still loaded with nutrients and that’s worth noting! Collard greens are cruciferous vegetables that are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and lots of vitamins.
But let’s be honest – we’re not making this collard greens recipe because of the nutritional value. We’re making this Southern side dish because it’s a classic that makes the fall season even more exciting! The greens themselves are cooked in the fat that’s rendered from both bacon and pancetta, which creates the best savory, salty flavor and tender consistency.
How to Make Collard Greens
This is a one pan recipe that comes together in less than 30 minutes. Perfect for both crazy weeknights and hectic holidays!
- Cook the meats. Add bacon and pancetta to a dutch oven and cook until crispy over medium-high heat. Once crispy, use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon and pancetta to a bowl. We want to make sure there’s still a good amount of fat left in the dutch oven!
- Cook the onions and garlic. Add the onions to the pot first. Cook them until they’re softened and translucent, then stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant.
- Cook the greens. Start off by stirring in just half of the greens and cook until they’re wilted and there’s more room in the pot. Then, add the remaining greens. Cook until they’re all wilted and starting to brown around the edges.
- Add the final ingredients. Stir in the chicken stock, apple cider vinegar, honey, currants, and a few pinches of salt and black pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for just 6-8 more minutes.
- Enjoy! Serve your greens right away with some bacon, pancetta, and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper on top.
Tips and Variations to Try
Take a quick look at these little tips, tricks, and variations before making your homemade collard greens:
- Use a slotted spoon. When you remove the crispy pancetta and bacon from the pot, you want to leave behind all of the rendered fat. That’s what you’ll be cooking the onions, garlic, and greens in! Be sure to use a slotted spoon so you don’t scoop it all up.
- Fresh garlic is the best garlic. In an absolute pinch, pre-minced garlic will work. However, fresh garlic will create the very best aroma and flavor! I like to smash the garlic cloves first before mincing for even more flavor.
- Homemade chicken stock. I love using my favorite homemade chicken stock recipe in all of my recipes! It’s easier to make than you may think and adds incredible flavor to everything it touches. If you don’t have time to make it, store-bought stock works just fine of course.
Enjoy more of the best veggie side dishes this fall!
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Get the Recipe: Collard Greens Recipe
- 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
- 8 ounces chopped pancetta
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound fresh collard greens, cut into bite size pieces and center rib removed
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 1 dutch oven
- Cook the bacon and pancetta in a dutch oven over medium high heat until crispy.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon and pancetta to a bowl.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Stir in half the collard greens and cook until wilted. Add the remaining greens and continue to cook until wilted and starting to brown around the edges.
- Add the chicken stock, vinegar, salt, pepper, honey and currants. Turn the heat to low and continue to cook for 6-8 minutes.
- Serve the collard greens topped with reserved bacon and crushed red pepper, if desired.