My slow cooker is a hand-me-down. It was given to me by a friend who had gotten it from a co-worker who wasn’t happy with the fact that it has only 3 settings: low, high, and keep warm. The co-worker upgraded, then my friend upgraded, and I was the slightly bewildered recipient of a REALLY big slow cooker. It’s clunky, we have nowhere to put it (my boyfriend has to hoist it on top of the cupboards when it’s not in use), but–turns out–I love the thing. We haul it out when we’re having a special meal like Sunday dinner, often with meat, which is a treat for us. For a while, there was a splatter pattern on my kitchen wall from where the slow cooker sat so often and cooked away. In other words, I’m a fan.
So, when I had the opportunity to pitch in a couple cocktail recipes to The Southern Slow Cooker: Big-Flavor, Low-Fuss Recipes for Comfort Food Classics, by Kendra Bailey Morris, I jumped at the chance. The final product is a knockout and I’m tickled to have had a small part in it. The book includes a big swath of Southern cuisine from Carolina-Style Pork BBQ Sandwiches to West Virginia Brown Beans and Fatback. The thing that really struck me about the book was how approachable the recipes are. I tend to be pretty intimidated by cooking meat dishes and I’ve never cooked ribs in my life, but the recipe in the book for Pork Ribs with Raspberry Sorghum BBQ sauce totally made me feel like I could do it. I was drawn to this Kale with Ham Hocks recipe for a similar reason, it made a big pot of greens that will last the whole week, seem like no big deal. Also, this kale is crazy delicious: rich, smoky, meltingly tender, and satisfying.
Thanks to the folks at Ten Speed Press, I am sharing the recipe for Kale and Ham Hocks from the book and have a copy of the book to giveaway. Here’s how to enter:
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- Comments will close at 5 pm eastern time on Friday, October 4th.
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- 1 meaty smoked ham hock, or 4 or 5 ham hock slices (about 8 ounces)
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup chicken broth, low sodium or homemade
- 12 cups torn kale leaves, tough ribs and stems discarded (2 inch pieces)
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease, vegetable oil, or olive oil
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, plus more to serve
- Salt and pepper
- Hot sauce for serving
- Put the ham hock in a microwavable bowl and cover with the water and chicken broth. Cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes, or until bubbly.
- Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray, then add the greens to the slow cooker.
- Heat a large pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat and add the bacon drippings. Add the onion and saute until translucent and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onions to the slow cooker. Then pour in the ham hock mixture and stir.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, until your greens are nice and tender.
- Remove the ham hock from the slow cooker and shred the lean meat. Return the meat to the pot, discarding the skin and bones. Add the cayenne, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper, then stir. Set the cooker to warm and serve straight from the pot alongside a bottle of your favorite hot sauce and extra vinegar.
**I don’t have a microwave, so I had to skip that step in the recipe. This still turned out fantastic!
**I used a smoked pork shank, which was quite a bit bigger and meatier than an 8 ounce hock that the recipe calls for. It was what my meat CSA had available and it just made for more shredded bits of smoked pork in the final dish–nothing to complain about!
There’s an Amazon.com affiliate link up there, which means I will receive an very small commission on all purchases made through Amazon links in this post. Ten Speed Press will provide the giveaway product to the winner free of charge.