Grab your preferred greens & ham hocks for this classic southern recipe. Make this easy greens recipe in your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
I refer to this recipe as Hattie’s Greens. My Mother is Hattie and this is her greens recipe. Instead of cooking the greens on the stove-top like my Mother does, here I will show you how to make greens in your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
What Are Greens
Before we get started, let’s talk about greens. Greens are a stable in Southern cooking. My Mother is originally from North Carolina and I’m originally from Georgia; I have been eating Hattie’s greens for as long as I can remember. Leafy greens is a broad term that refers to a lot of foods like collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, spinach, swiss chard, etc. They have different tastes & textures. This recipe is meant for tough, sturdy greens like collard greens. Greens are a superfood; they’re high fiber, rich in vitamins and minerals, and low in calories.
Choosing The Greens
As I mentioned earlier, greens comes in different forms. Most people eat collard greens. Collard greens are a personal favorite but I honestly enjoy all greens whether they be collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens or kale greens. What you see in the pictures here are mixed greens which is a mixture of different types of greens. I used a combination: 16-ounces of collards, 16-ounces of mustards, and-16 ounces of turnips. How you get to your 48 ounces of greens is up to you. You can use all of one type or a combination.
Prepping Your Greens
You’re are either going to use loose leaf bunches of greens or use bags greens:
Bagged greens are usually pre-washed & pre-cut. Even if the greens you buy says they are pre-washed, I recommend you wash them again. I also recommend removing any large stems you might see. After you wash the bagged greens, they’re ready to be added to the slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Loose leaf greens will sometimes have a lot of dirt on them so you will need to clean them properly before you cook them. The way I learned to clean Hattie’s greens is to fill a clean sink with cold water and add the greens. Mix them around with your hands for a few minutes. Remove the greens, drain the water and clean out any dirt that’s leftover in the sink. Repeat the process until the greens are clean and there’s no more dirt. One they’re clean, rinse & pat dry the greens. Next cut off the tough stem & main vein and then chop the greens into one-inch pieces. Now they’re ready to be added to the slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Using A Sweetener
The original recipe for Hattie’s greens uses 2 teaspoon of white sugar. I don’t cook with white sugar but I did have some organic coconut sugar in my pantry so I used that. That makes my version paleo. What sweetener you use will dictate whether these greens are low-carb, paleo, or whole30. For paleo I suggest coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup. For low-carb you will need to use your preferred zero-sugar sweetener. For whole30 you will need to omit the sweetener completely.
What Are Ham Hocks
Ham hocks are a part of the pig. I refer to them as pig ankles since they’re the joints that connect the foot to the leg but technically ham hocks are not pig ankles they’re pig knuckles. Ham hocks are mainly ligaments, skin and tendons. When cooked, the fat & collagen in ham hocks dissolves leaving a nice, smoky taste. The little meat on there will be falling apart tender. Most ham hocks that you will find at the grocery store are cured with salt and smoked. Of course you do not have to use ham hocks in this recipe.
Variations To This Recipe
- Omit the meat use vegetarian broth and this recipe is vegan/vegetarian.
- Don’t eat pork but want to add meat? I suggest using a piece of smoked turkey like smoked turkey wings.
Other side dish recipes you might enjoy:
- 48 ounces greens
- 2 ham hocks (approximately one pound total)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons sugar or sweetener of your choice (optional)
- 1 tablespoon oil (for pressure cooker)
- Wash greens & remove stems. Add greens to the slow cooker.
- Sprinkle with salt, sugar or sweetener (if using). Pour apple cider vinegar and broth on top.
- Rinse off ham hocks. Add ham hocks on top of greens.
- Cook HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 6-8.
Electric Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)
- Turn on the pressure cooker and select sauté. Once hot add oil to the pot. Add the onion and cook 2-3 minutes until soft. Add garlic & cook an additional minute.
- Add the broth to the pressure cooker and using a wooden spoon scrape well the bottom to remove any bits that stuck to it, make sure you scrape it well to avoid burning during cooking.
- Stir in greens. Add apple cider vinegar, salt, and sugar/sweetener if using. Add ham hocks.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set high pressure and cook for 30 minutes. Natural release pressure for 10 minutes then manually the remaining pressure. Remove ham hock, shred meat, and place meat back in the pressure cooker.
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