Slow Cooker Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey

Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I love to use my slow cookers. I own three and I use them all the time. Most of the time I’m using the slow cookers to prepare meats, dips, or desserts, but I recently began using the slow cooker to prepare vegetables. One of my favorite vegetables to prepare is slow cooker collard greens with smoked turkey.

Collard greens are excellent vegetable choice because they are highly nutritional. They are a great source of potassium, fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, riboflavin, Vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron and manganese. Collard greens are also delicious, approved by 2 out 3 children in our home. (We’re still working to convince Sweet Pea about their yummy green goodness. She’ll come around soon!)

Preparing slow cooker collard greens with smoked turkey is not hard and only requires a few ingredients. Cleaning and chopping the the collard greens is the most time consuming part of the process, but once that is done, the slow cooker does the rest.

Cleaning Collard Greens

This is the way my grandmother did it, so this is how I do it. It always worked for Gram and it’s worked for me.

  1. Detach and discard the large thick stems. (They are edible, but I find them to be a bit tough. I’d rather just eat the tender leaves.)
  2. Cut or chop the leaves into bit sized chunks or strips.
  3. Fill the sink with cold water and allow the greens to soak in the sink for 45 minutes or so. (Dirt on the leaves will settle at the bottom of the sink.)
  4. Rinse them thoroughly two times and then place the greens in a large colander. Be sure to rinse the greens well well as gritty greens are far from appetizing!

Now, onto the recipe….

Slow Cooker Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey

2 medium onions, chopped and divided
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
2 bunches collard greens, cleaned, chopped, and divided
salt and pepper to taste, divided
4 teaspoons sugar, divided
2-4 smoked turkey necks or tails (depends upon the size)

Line the bottom of the slow cooker with half of the chopped onions and 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Add half the collard greens and use a spatula to press them down into the slow cooker. Sprinkle the greens with 2 teaspoons of sugar and then season them with salt and pepper to taste. Add half the turkey necks/tails to the slow cooker.

Add the rest of the onions and the remaining tablespoon of minced garlic. Add the remaining collard greens and use a spatula to press them down into the slow cooker. Sprinkle them with the rest of the sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the remaining turkey necks/tails.

Carefully pour the chicken broth into the slow cooker. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set on low for 6 hours. Allow the collards to cook until they reach the desired texture. You may need to stir them occasionally.

I use my large 7 quart slow cooker for this recipe. Even then, I have to press greens quite firmly in order to fit them all inside the cooking vessel. Just press them down firmly and press every hour or so until they fit well.

photo credit: six:eleven via photopin cc

© 2014, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.

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