When I started cooking, southern barbecue was still a regional thing. Sure, we had ribs here in Ohio, but pulled pork? Brisket? Never heard of it. But, when I got my start with a Weber Smoky Mountain, I started to learn about true barbecue…and its side dishes.
Collard greens are a standard Southern side dish, the perfect accompaniment to everything from pulled pork to fried catfish. These are not crisp, fresh greens – down South they are cooked until they fall apart, and flavored with a hint of smoked pork. Simmered low and slow while the barbecue is smoking, they’re the perfect lazy side dish.
But, on a weeknight I don’t have the time for low and slow. That’s where my pressure cooker comes in. It’s perfect for cooking greens past tender and to falling apart – as much as I love them, “al dente” is not a strong point for pressure cookers. I also want smoky pork flavor, so I slice the end off of a slab of bacon. 1 I cut the bacon crosswise into 1 inch strips, then toss it straight into the pressure cooker pot. It comes apart into slices as it cooks, and after a few minutes I have crispy bacon and a thin layer of bacon fat to flavor my greens.
Now for the actual collard greens. When I can get collard greens from my farmers market or CSA, I jump at them – but I make sure to wash them thoroughly. Unfortunately, fresh-grown collards are not that common in my neck of the woods, so I tend to cheat with a bag of pre-washed, pre-trimmed collard greens from the grocery store. Sure, locally grown collards taste better – but we are cooking them forever, so most of the difference is cooked out. And, by “forever”, I mean 20 minutes. It’s amazing what a pressure cooker can do.
(If you can’t find collards at all, you can substitute kale, but I cook it for a shorter period of time.)
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Collard Greens with Bacon
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot Duo electric PC)
Pressure Cooker Collard Greens with Bacon recipe. Tender greens and smoky bacon, cooked in 30 minutes in the pressure cooker.
- 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 pound collard greens, cleaned and stems trimmed
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup water
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Brown the bacon, then add the collards: Spread the bacon out in the bottom of the pressure cooker pot and set the pot over medium heat (stovetop PC) or to sauté mode (electric PC). Cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until it is browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Stir a big handful of the collards into the bacon, coating with the bacon grease, until they wilt slightly. Then start stirring and packing in the rest of the collards. Don’t worry about the max fill line on the cooker – the collards will wilt quickly – but you need to pack them in enough to close the lid. Sprinkle the collards with the salt, then pour the water over the top of everything.
- Pressure cook the collards: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, bring it up to high pressure, and cook at high pressure for 20 minutes in an electric PC, 16 minutes in a stovetop PC. Quick release the pressure. Remove the lid carefully – the steam is hot enough to scald.
- Season and serve: Pour the collards into a serving dish, sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper, and serve.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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