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Country Greens-Cornbread Pan Stuffing
Makes 4 Servings
*4 lbs. fresh collard greens
*1/2 cup smoked ham hock
*1 large onion, peeled and kept whole
*2 dried red chilies
*1 tsp. cracked black pepper
*8 cups chicken stock, plus 2-3 cups more, if needed
*Salt to taste
*Pepper vinegar to taste
*1 cup yellow cornmeal
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*1/4 cup sugar
*4 tsp. baking powder
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1 cup milk
*2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
*1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (or melted bacon grease)
1To prepare the collard greens, pick through the greens, discarding any large stems and brown or yellow leaves. Wash thoroughly to remove all grit. With a knife, cut the greens into bite-sized pieces.
2Place the ham hock, onion, chilies and pepper in a large pot over medium-high heat and add enough stock to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
3Add the greens in 4 batches, stirring each batch down until wilted and submerged in the liquid. If needed, add more stock to cover the greens by 1 inch. Increase the heat to medium and simmer, 40-60 minutes. The length of cooking time depends on the age of the greens; the older the greens, the longer it takes to tenderize them. The liquid (potlikker) should be reduced by 3/4. Remove the ham hock and remove meat from bones and cut into medium dice. Add back to greens. Remove onion and chop fine and add back to greens. Season with salt and pepper vinegar. Keep warm.
4Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and place it in the oven.
5Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk, eggs and butter. Stir with a few rapid strokes until dry ingredients are just moistened.
6Pour batter into hot pan. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are light brown and bread is firm. Remove from oven and let cool. With a knife, cut cornbread into 1-inch dice.
Chef Dean Fearing, The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas, TX