A Family Builds a Homestead in the Rain

Braised Greens in Spicy Broth

My husband and I share (and sometimes fight over) the meal-cooking duties in our home– he’s the wildly talented cook, really– but there’s one dish in particular that brings me to the stove most often. It’s a household favorite that evolved from classic Southern collard greens, though I often use kale, chard, or dandelion.

We enjoy it year-round, and while I offered it to our toddler cautiously since it packs a punch, she now always begs for “Mo bah?”– or, More broth!

Since we harvested a huge basket-full of kale last night– trying to beat the flea beetles to the punch– this naturally followed suit.

We always keep pork rib, beef, and chicken bones in our freezer, along with onion skins, carrot ends, and the like, to make broth in a pinch. The broth is the best part of this dish, I think (and my toddler daughter agrees), so I only ever use homemade. When I make chicken broth for this, I toss in a frozen smoked rib bone to add a smoky element. Not critical, but it’s a nice asset!

Another tip: we always buy bacon ends from our local butcher, for this and any other bacon application. They are often the best bits, nice big chunks, and always cheap.

Braised Greens in Spicy Broth

The leftovers are excellent reheated, so we typically double this recipe to feed our family of three twice (at least).

Spice quantities are flexible per your family’s preference for heat levels. We like everything very spicy, and I top our daughter’s bowl with a dollop of sour cream for a bit of mildness. 

4 slices bacon (or equivalent of bacon ends), preferably smoked, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1/2 white onion, chopped medium

1 serano pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped fine

1/4 to 1/2 t. cayenne pepper

1 t. chili powder

4 medium garlic cloves, minced

1/2 to 1 t. chili flakes

1 bunch (about 2 Lbs. whole) collard greens, chard or kale, ribs removed and sliced into 1/2-inch strips

3 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade


Tabasco or other vinegar-based hot sauce (like this homemade one)

1. Place the bacon in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot. Turn heat to medium-low, and cook the bacon until it is just crisp, stirring occasionally.

2. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the the onion and serano chili and stir occasionally, until the onion begins to become translucent, about 4 more minutes. Stir in the cayenne and chili powder.

3. Push the contents to the sides of the pot and add the garlic and chili flakes in the center. Crush against the bottom of the pot for about 20 seconds until very aromatic. Then stir all contents together.

4. Add the greens– if they’re too voluminous, add half and mix into the cooked bacon and onions until they begin to wilt; then add the rest. When they all begin to wilt, add the broth. When the broth has come to a simmer and the greens are wilted enough to be mostly submerged, reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer gently until the greens are tender but not soft, about 10 to 25 minutes depending on your choice of greens. Add salt to taste. Serve hot in soup bowls, topped with hot sauce for a vinegary finish.

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I'm Kelly. Writer, crafter, forager, country winemaker, cook. Mama of an awesome toddler and married to my best friend. We recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, where we're setting out to grow, make, and learn as much as we can as the future unfolds.

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