Smoky Collard Greens

"I've been making collards this way ever since I can remember," Sarah Simmons says. She gives the greens a double dose of smokiness with bacon and paprika and adds jalapeño for a good kick of heat. Recipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 

Smoky Collard Greens
Photo: © Christina Holmes
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs
6 to 8


  • One 1/2-pound piece of meaty slab bacon

  • 1 jalapeño, halved lengthwise

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s

  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 3 pounds collard greens, stems discarded, leaves cut into 1-inch strips


  1. In a large pot, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, turning, until it is golden all over, about 4 minutes. Add 3 1/2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add the jalapeño, garlic powder, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and simmer over low heat until the bacon is fork-tender, about 45 minutes.

  2. Bring the broth to a vigorous boil. Stir in the butter, seasoned salt and smoked paprika. Add large handfuls of the collards at a time, allowing each batch to wilt slightly before adding more. Return the broth to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the collards over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, about 30 minutes.

  3. Discard the jalapeño. Transfer the bacon to a plate, then cut off and discard the skin and fat. Using 2 forks, shred the meat and return it to the pot. Using tongs, transfer the collards and bacon to bowls. Spoon some of the broth over the greens and serve.

Make Ahead

The collards can be refrigerated in their cooking liquid for up to 4 days.

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