Somewhere South with Chef Vivian Howard

Stewed Greens with Cornmeal Dumplings

Stewed Greens comes from Vivian Howard’s cookbook, “Deep Run Roots,” (Little, Brown & Co., 2016).


  • 1 ham hock or 8 to 10 ounces other pork seasoning meat
  • 3 quarts of water
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 10 turns of the pepper mill or ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds or 1 whole head collards, large stems removed
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • Pinch of salt
  • ⅓ cup collard broth
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk


Step 1: In a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven or pot, combine the ham hock or seasoning meat, water, onion, chili flakes, and black pepper. Cover. Bring up to a boil and cook, covered, for 1 hour. Add the collards. Lower the heat to a heavy simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes. Take the lid off and test the greens for doneness. They should have taken on some of the porky goodness from the broth and have a silky-soft texture. 

Step 2: Scoop the greens into a bowl, leaving the pot liquor behind. Pick the smoked morsels from the hock or chop the seasoning meat into rough pieces and add them to the greens. Using a collard chopper or a knife, roughly chop the greens and the meat together. You can go as far as you like here, but I prefer a little texture. Stir in up to 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar if you deem it necessary. 

Add chopped greens and seasoning meat back to the pot liquor in the Dutch oven. Bring up to a simmer over medium-low heat. 

Step 3: While the collards simmer, combine the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Blend in the butter with your fingertips or a fork. Stir in the collard broth and buttermilk and mix until just combined. Let the dough stand for 5 minutes.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough into the simmering broth on top of the greens. Lower the heat  and cook, covered, until the dumplings are puffed and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Yield: 4-6 servings