Slow Cooker Kale and Ham Hocks, plus The Southern Slow Cooker Giveaway

by autumn on September 30, 2013


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.slow-cooker-kale-and-ham-hocks-2

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 Classicsby 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:

  • Leave a comment on this post.
  • Comments will close at 5 pm eastern time on Friday, October 4th.
  • Giveaway for continental US residents only.
  • One comment per person, please.
Kale and Ham Hocks
Author: The Southern Slow Cooker, Kendra Bailey Morris (Ten Speed Press), reprinted with permission
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 meaty smoked ham hock, or 4 or 5 ham hock slices (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 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
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, plus more to serve
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot sauce for serving
  1. 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.
  2. Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray, then add the greens to the slow cooker.
  3. 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.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, until your greens are nice and tender.
  5. 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.
**For folks like me who are gluten-free, double-check that the chicken broth, hot sauce, bacon, and ham hocks that you use are gluten-free. [br][br]**I don’t have a microwave, so I had to skip that step in the recipe. This still turned out fantastic![br][br]**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 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.


1 Sarah Crowder (punctuated. with food) September 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Be still my southern heart! So wanting this now.

2 Kendra Bailey Morris September 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Thank you Autumn! Your photos make kale look delicious 🙂

3 Tina September 30, 2013 at 6:34 pm

This looks delicious! We love kale and look forward to trying this recipe!

4 Francene Kaufman September 30, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I must try this, plus I am emailing it to my brother, as he loves Kale. Thank you for all of the recipes and inspiration you are to us, your fans.

5 Donna Bailey September 30, 2013 at 7:57 pm

I love my slow cooker! Can’t wait to try the kale and lots of the recipes in the cookbook.

6 kelly @ kellybakes September 30, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Giiiiiiirl. You had me at ham hocks. Loved this photo on instagram, loved that you were a part of (what sounds like) a stellar book and love that you are giving a lucky reader a chance to win this!

…oh and I love pork too, but that’s implied. duh.

7 Dina September 30, 2013 at 8:02 pm

I love ham hocks ! Especially like this. Perfect for the fall!

8 anna October 1, 2013 at 12:58 am

pick me please!

9 Kathie M. L. Greer October 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm

This is a great way to introduce kale into my diet! My slow cooker is my go to way of cooking in the fall and winter! Thank you for this great recipe!

10 Daria October 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I cannot wait to try this recipe!

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