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Slow Cooker: Smokey Collard Greens

Cleaning and trimming collard greens takes the most “difficult” part of this recipe. After that, it’s easy. For years I stayed away from collard greens recipes. Didn’t make them or eat them growing up so why venture into unknown waters! What I found out is that it is easy. Taste great. Good for you. Add a slow cooker and that takes it over the top.

My hubby loves them so I have sampled many along the way and finally decided to make some. My first recipe was ok but not great. Now that I knew what taste I liked, I realized it was the smoky garlic-y punch I was looking for.

At the end of each year I always order several Greenburg Smoked Turkey from Tyler Texas between Thankgsiving and Christmas  (and no I get no renumeration for saying so!)  Suffice it to say I use every single morsel of this delectable bird. I think I should send Greenburgs all the recipes I make with their bird.

I do start with the one they have included the past 30 years, but of course I tweaked it.  It’s much more addicting now!  The entire family waits patiently for the Smoked Turkey Cheese Log followed by Smoked Turkey Sandwiches (like no other), Smoked Turkey Soup (made with stock from the smoky carcass of the turkey) and now I have added the Collard Greens using the turkey legs to my Greenburg recipe repertoire!

I digress. Back to the Collard Greens!

I have found that cleaning the leaves is easier if you cut the root off so the leaves are individual. Run the water over each leaf, front and back. Gently shake to get excess water off. Place on towel to dry. Sometimes I clean them at night and leave to dry overnight.

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Here is how I do it! I removed the stems with a knife and then stack 10 or so leaves together.en cut across in 1 inch wide pieces. Then cut down the middle to cut the entire stack in half. Wa-la!

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You can use your hands to remove the leaf from the stem and tear into pieces but I have found it’s faster to use a knife.

If you are still not sure … here is a video from Bon Appetit on “How to de-stem every green”.

Back to this yummy super delicious recipe!  In this recipe it is necessary to precook the ingredients in order to get all the greens in the slow cooker. It’s well worth it. Trust me!

Now it’s time to measure liquids, chop onions and mince garlic!

I absolutely love this garlic press.  And if you don’t have a garlic peeler … you should get one especially if you are making a recipe with LOTS of garlic.  Like the Fanelli Family Spaghetti or that 40 garlic clove Chicken!

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Just place your cloves of garlic in the rubber tube and place on counter and roll it.  The skin just peels right off.  Dump it out on the counter.  Done!

Now for the garlic press.  I have used many and they all have the little problem.  The outer layer of the garlic likes to clog up what actually does get minced.  Not this one!  DK Collard Greens Garlic3b

Place the garlic on the board and put the press on top of it.  The press and rock back and forth and the garlic comes through.  Put any little pieces that escaped under it again, rock, done.  There is literally nothing but minced garlic.  Brush your knife or spoon or finger for that matter over the mincer and it all comes out.  No problem in cleaning it out between cloves or when you are done.  No more minced garlic in a jar for me when I am in a hurry.

Collards cleaned, de-stemmed and cut, onions chopped, garlic minced. Liquid ingredients measured.

Now it is time for cooking part of prep.

Heat your olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until it is sizzling.  Add your onion, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook until the onions are softened, then add your liquids and bring to a boil.  Simple.

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You will have a lot of greens and this colander they are seriously pressed down where you don’t see it!  You will add about half your greens and let them start to wilt.  Keep adding greens until they are all added.  Cook until they are almost completely wilted.  Add 1 Tablespoon vinegar.  Stir.  Now they will fit in your slow cooker and they are ready to get smokey and tender!

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Transfer a layer of greens mixture to the slow cooker.  Place the smoked turkey legs on top.

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Place the rest of the greens mixture over the top of the turkey legs.  Cover and set your timer!

Deliciousness is coming your way!

When the collard greens are ready, remove the turkey drumsticks to a cutting board. Some of the meat may fall off the bone. Wait for them to cool or carefully handle the legs, as they are hot. Remove the meat from the bones, shred or cut it into bite-sized pieces and stir it back into the greens. (Discard the skin and bonesPix

The beauty of cooking your greens in a slow cooker is that you can walk away once you transfer all the ingredients for 4 to 6 hours on high.  Coming back to tender greens with a meaty smoky flavor.

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Slow Cooker: Smokey Collard Greens
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Vegetable
Serves: 10-12
  • 2 Greenburg smoked turkey drumsticks
  • 5 pounds collard greens (about 6 large bunches)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, medium dice
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¼-teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoon Bragg’s apple cider vinegar (divided)
  • ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • Vinegar or hot sauce for serving
  1. Rinse collard greens and pat dry.
  2. Prep the onions and garlic cloves. (Or clean and dry overnight on towels.)
  3. Measure chicken broth. Add cayenne pepper to the broth. Set aside
  4. After you have cleaned the collard greens it’s time to remove the stems. With a knife trim the tough stems from the leave. Discard the stems. Place the trimmed leaf in a pile. Once you have a pile, cut into 1-inch strips, then cup down the center of the strips to cut in half. Set aside.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large, wide-bottomed pot over medium heat until sizzling. Add the onion, garlic, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 4 minutes.
  6. Increase the heat to high, add the stock mixture, stir to combine, and bring to a boil.
  7. Add half of the greens. Stir. As they start to wilt add large handfuls at a time. Continue adding until all the greens are in the pot. Stir and continue cooking until they are almost completely wilted. Now they will fit in the slow cooker.
  8. Turn off the heat and add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Stir to combine.
  9. Transfer a layer of greens mixture to the slow cooker. Place the turkey legs on top. Place the rest of the greens mixture over the top of the turkey legs.
  10. Cover and cook until the greens are very tender. This will take about 4 to 5 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low.
  11. Remove the turkey drumsticks to a cutting board. Some of the meat may fall off the bone. Wait for them to cool or carefully handle the legs, as they are hot. Remove the meat from the bones, shred or cut it into bite-sized pieces and stir it back into the greens. (Discard the skin and bones).
  12. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of vinegar and stir to combine. Taste and season with measured salt and pepper. Taste again. Season as desired.
  13. Serve with additional apple cider vinegar or Crystals Hot Sauce.
Calories 91 |Fat 4g |Carbs 5g| Fiber 2g |Sugar 1g |Protein 8g

Read through the recipe. Gather your ingredients. Mise en place. A French culinary phrase, which means everything in place. Prep everything first before you begin because once you start cooking its pretty quick.
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One comment

  1. Just came across the Diabetic Kitchen. Love it. Thanks for these wonderful tips.

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