An Assembly of Southern Greens Cooked in Pork Stock

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Editor's Note: This Southern mixed greens recipe is the perfect addition to any authentic Southern food spread. It only takes a few ingredients to make this Southern Greens Cooked in Pork Stock recipe, and the best part is that you can use any combination of greens you like. The homemade pork stock is what gives the greens their spectacular smoked flavor. The simple pork broth can be made in advance by simmering a cured, smoked pork shoulder in water. This smoked pork stock offers a flavorful alternative to the traditional mixed greens with ham hocks. 

Miss Lewis grew up with a tradition of cooking many types of greens in the same pot. In Alabama, I am sad to say, we were “segregationists” in this regard, cooking turnip greens almost exclusively, and always by themselves. In recent years, though, I’ve come to appreciate the wonderful flavor of different types of greens cooked together—cultivated and wild greens, “Southern” greens like turnip and mustard with more widely grown varieties like kale and chard. The basic method given here can be followed for any combination of greens or just one type. (Collards, for instance, are best cooked separately, because they have a different texture and require considerably longer cooking time.) Most varieties of cultivated greens are widely available in supermarkets, and, increasingly, “wild” greens—such as cresses, pokeweed, rape, and purslane—can be found at farmers’ markets. Greens should always be accompanied by some type of cornbread. And although they are delicious by themselves or simply moistened with some of the “pot likker,” many Southerners serve greens along with thinly sliced white or green onions or scallions, and crushed red pepper or liberal dashes of hot pepper vinegar.



Total Timeunder 1 hour

One Pot MealYes


Recipe CourseSide Dish

Five Ingredients or LessYes



Taste and TextureLight, Savory, Smoky

Type of DishVegetable


  • 8 cups Smoked Pork Stock or substitute
  • 4 pounds mixed greens, such as turnip, mustard, rape, winter, watercress, escarole, and chard, carefully washed and stemmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Pour the smoked-pork stock into a large Dutch oven or heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the prepared greens in batches, waiting until the first batch wilts into the stock before adding more. (This will seem like an enormous amount of greens, but they cook down considerably and quickly.)

  2. Cook, uncovered, over high heat until the greens are just tender, about 15–20 minutes. Take care not to overcook the greens. They should be silky and tender but still vibrant green in color. During cooking, season as needed with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Greens are served highly seasoned.

  3. When they are done, use a slotted spoon or strainer to remove them from the pot, draining off any excess liquid, and serve hot.


“Pot likker” is the flavorful broth in which the greens have cooked. You can reserve it and use it to cook up another batch. After that it will have too strong a flavor. Or, as many Southerners do, enjoy the pot likker by itself with cornbread as a light supper.

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