There is something super distinct about southern food. It's warm. It's filling and comforting. It also has a one of a kind soulful aroma while it's cooking. These greens have it all, flavor, aroma and comfort.
I've been making these greens for years and every time someone eats them they can't believe how much flavor they have without the use of meat. Traditionally, southern style greens are slow cooked with some type of smoked meat such as turkey neck bones, ham hocks etc. The addition of the smokey meat is what gives southern greens that classic flavor that all soul food lovers are familiar with. However, I have found that the true flavor comes from the fact that the meat has been smoked rather than the meat itself. So I opt for using dried chipotle pepper to mimic the smokiness and it works like a charm. For this recipe I combined cabbage and collard greens together simply because I have a difficult time choosing which one I would rather eat. You could absolutely make this recipe with one or the other, or just about any leafy green. I've used this same recipe with kale, mustard greens and even chard and it has come out great.
What are dried chipotles & Where to find them
A chipotle is a smoked dried jalapeño chili pepper. It's primarily used Mexican and Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Tex-Mex and Southwestern United States dishes. However I found that they are incredibly useful in so many different recipes, especially when you want something to taste like meat. You can find whole dried chipotles in most grocery stores. They are usually in the same aisle as corn tortillas and Mexican spices. You can also find them dried and ground in jars along side the rest of the spices which is what I used for this recipe. They do have a little spiciness to them so keep that in mind when you use them in dishes.
How I like to clean my collards
Collards are notorious for being dirty and needing a good washing. I like to chop them up and put them in a huge bowl or a super clean sink full of water then I add a generous amount of apple cider vinegar and sea salt. I swish them around and let them soak for about 5 minutes then I rinse and strain them well.