Mixed Greens With Ham Hocks

These easy mixed greens are cooked with ham hocks, a little vinegar, and seasonings. Use collard greens and turnip greens in this recipe. A big pot of greens is known as a mess o’ greens on the Southern table. Cooked greens are a staple in the South, where one study found they were a favorite food among older adults.


  • 2 small ham hocks, or a large ham hock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 pounds collard greens
  • 1 pound turnip greens
  • 3 cups beef stock, or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste


  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large kettle or Dutch oven, bring the ham hocks and water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

  3. Immerse the greens in a sink full of water and wash them well to remove any sand and grit. Lift them out, drain the water, fill the sink, and repeat the procedure a few times. Cut out the thickest part of the stems and coarsely chop the greens.

  4. Increase the heat under the ham hocks to medium-high; add about one-third of the greens to the pot. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until wilted. Add the remaining greens in 2 more batches, until all of the greens fit into the pot.

  5. Stir in the stock, vinegar, sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes; bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover partially. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender, about 1 hour.

  6. Remove the ham hocks and cut meat from bones. Dice the meat and add it back to the greens.

  7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the greens to a serving bowl. If desired, retain the juices (also known as pot liquor) to serve for dipping cornbread.

  8. Serve and enjoy!


  • Greens are traditionally served with pepper vinegar sauce, which you might find in the store in the section that has hot sauces or pickles. If you can’t find it, pack a clean sterilized jar with small hot peppers and fill it with vinegar and about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Refrigerate and enjoy with greens. Slice some of the peppers for extra hot vinegar.
  • Leftover cooked greens can be stored in the refrigerator for four to five days.
  • When you trim away the larger veins and stems, don’t discard them. You can use them in stir-fries where they will become tender when cooked. Or save them to use for making stock or long-simmering soups. You can freeze them to use whenever you are ready to make stock or soup.

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