And so this is Chriskwansolstikkah, which means there are greens! One of the must-have holiday foods.
You start with the greens. My family's approach is a mix of collard/turnip/mustard usually evenly split. My household's approach is to alter the proportion so there is more collard and mustard than anything else:
The Just Get The Fuckers In The Pot stage involves zero addition of water, because tons of water is going to be released by the greens. As you go on you have to ladle water out. This is one of two bowls of juice; one bowl I toss, the other I keep in reserve for the balancing several hours from this point:
There are other ingredients in the pot. The rendered fat of at least 1 lb of bacon (with another pound on deck in case it's needed) and fried within the pot, onions, turnips, garlic, salt, pepper, shanks (not pictured). My household's modification to the family approach is one entire head of garlic, using shanks instead of hocks, and a big anaheim chile:
After the hour-ish it takes just to get the fuckers in the pot, which is done at a high boil, drop to medium boil and let roll for at least another hour before doing the first balancing. This could involve adding more pepper or salt, or more juice, or more bacon fat or more chile.
You know it's close to done when the shanks fall apart and the liquid gets dark and rich. It's all done when it tastes as you want it to. Start to finish is usually about 7 hours. Greens are one of those dishes where making it means Hope You Didn't Have Any Plans To Leave The House That Day. It also means BLT for lunch, bacon salad for dinner, and bacon treats for the cat.
Once done, you let it cool for a bit. Then get your colander, two big bowls and one little bowl. Scoop greens from big pot, put in the colander bowl, and get to picking. This is where you snag all the bones, rubbery skin gristle, and scrape out the tasty marrow. Depending on your level of Selfish, the marrow will either go back into the pot - or you can eat it. (Note: I'm kinda Selfish when it comes to any type of marrow):
Remember that sink full of greens and an hour or so of cramming it all into the pot? It cooks down enough to fit into a big bowl. And check out that lovely dark juice! Resist the urge to sop it up with cornbread or just drink it, because it's got to go back into the pot:
But! When it's done, it's Not Done. The flavor is going to change just a little bit once all the ingredients have had 24 hours to get to know each other. So after it's 'done' and cooled off enough to go into the fridge for a day, you then reheat the pot, taste and make any adjustments necessary (except for adding bacon fat). At that point, it's Done. This is why you don't make greens for day-of serving. Greens must always be made in advance. My Mom taught me that trick.
Eat as-is, or garnish with white vinegar or pepper sauce. That's up to the eater.
There are as many ways to make greens as there are to make stone soup. I like hot and savory. I know someone who does sweet greens, with lots of sugar. Some people don't do onions or turnips. I'm the only one I know who does chile. I have been told that there's a vegetarian version of greens, but I pretty much consider that a myth.
There are people who do greens with turkey instead of bacon and shanks. We don't speak of those people. We just stare at them with puzzlement and pity. (hee!)
And now I'm off to set the black eyes to soak.