Somewhere South with Chef Vivian Howard

Stewed Collard Greens

with Ham Hock

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 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)


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 60 minutes. Add the collards. Lower the heat to a heavy simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. 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 salt and 1 tablespoon sugar, if you deem it necessary. Finally, skim the shine off the top of the pot liquor and stir it in. 

Serve the greens warm with hot sauce or hot pepper vinegar. Reserve the pot liquor for another use or drink it up for good health. 

Yield: 4-6 servings