First things first. Happy, happy New Year everyone! It sure does feel good to leave 2020 behind, and like many, I am so excited for the possibilities of 2021. So many plans have been put on hold this year, but overall my family has been very fortunate in terms of our personal impact from the pandemic (knock on wood). We are certainly feeling grateful for that. Between our second baby boy due in April, being on the brink of getting vaccinated, and knowing we might soon be able to enjoy a beer with a large group of friends (maybe even indoors), there is so much to look forward to this year.
A New Year in The South
To celebrate, we kicked off 2021 yesterday with our traditional Southern New Year’s meal. For most, this meal consists of collard greens, pork, cornbread, and black eyed peas – each symbolizing different measures of good fortune. You can read more about the Southern New Year’s tradition here from the Spruce Eats. We switch things up just a bit at our house. My husband has a strong preference for mustard greens, so you won’t find collards on our table New Years day, although they really can be prepared in the same way. Pick your preference!
The Best Greens
Of course, I planned to get this recipe up before the new year, but it just didn’t happen. Better late than never I suppose! Normally I’m not allowed to touch the greens. Dylan doesn’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but there are some things that he really enjoys making, and greens are one of those things! For the sake of the blog, he agreed to let me give it a whirl this year. He admitted they were “as good” as his best. I must say, I thought they were better, but I’ll take it ????. He really does make some amazing greens! We definitely agree on two things when it comes to greens:
- They must be made with bacon rather than ham
- They must be made with Texas Pete hot sauce (confusingly made in North Carolina)!
These mustard greens are tangy, just a little sweet and perfectly tender. They are packed full of flavor, and are as Southern as can be! If you cook them low and slow, I promise they will taste even better than the greens at your favorite BBQ joint. I mean, they are really, really good. They go great with my most delicious Southern Honey Cornbread. I love this cornbread because it has a touch of sweetness, but not so much that it tastes like cake. You should give it a try!
One Last Bit of Fun
A family member of mine told me this week about a greens sandwich that is wedged between two slices of fried cornbread, and I am dying to give that a try! Has anyone else ever heard of this? Apparently this delicacy can be found each year over in Eastern, North Carolina. I’d love to hear about any other interesting New Year traditions or exciting foods in the comments.
Thanks for reading and here’s to 2021!Print
Tangy, slightly sweet, and seriously delicious Southern style mustard greens braised with cider vinegar and topped with crispy bacon. The perfect Southern side dish, and better than your favorite BBQ joint!
- 2 1/2 pounds mustard greens (about 2 bunches), washed thoroughly
- 8 ounces of bacon, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch squares
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon Texas Pete hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Remove the greens from the stems and tear into smaller pieces. I normally do this all by hand just tearing the greens away from the stem and into smaller sections. They don’t need to be bite sized as they will cook down quite a bit. Wash greens thoroughly in your sink or in batches using a salad spinner.
- Add the bacon to a pot over low heat and cook for 10 minutes. You want to cook it on the lowest heat setting to render as much fat as possible.
- When the bacon is nice and crispy, remove it with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
- Add the diced onion to the pot and cook for 5 minutes on low until soft.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Deglaze with the apple cider vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pot to release all that flavor from cooking the bacon.
- Add the greens in batches, cooking them down a bit in between each addition until they all fit in the pot.
- Add the chicken broth, hot sauce, brown sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and toss everything with tongs to combine.
- Cover the pot and cook the greens over low heat, tossing occasionally with tongs for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The greens should be soft and tender, but not mushy.
- Top with crispy bacon and be transported right to the Great American South!
- Everything should be cooked over low heat from start to finish.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Category: Sides
- Method: Braised
- Cuisine: Southern
Keywords: bacon, cider vinegar, greens, southern