Favorite Turnip Greens Recipe

These luscious turnip greens have all the makings of a simple Southern dish—four ingredients and a lot of love.
Shannon Sliter Satterwhite

Turnip Green Recipe:

 

As the daughter of an Air Force pilot, I was fortunate to live in various regions of the country. Still, I spent much time in the South where my dad was stationed most often. I grew up enjoying down-home Southern food as my family moved from state to state, but it wasn't until I met my Georgia-native husband that I truly experienced my first bowl of turnip greens.

One day, Scott took me to a local meat-and-three where turnip greens were the specialty. When our order arrived, I marveled at how excitedly he doused his treasured greens with pepper sauce and hastily crumbled cornbread into his bowl as if it were his last meal. Intrigued by his frenzy, I curiously followed suit and quickly found myself emotionally involved with every bite.

Since then, I've learned the fundamentals of preparing my own pot of greens. Most agree that turnip greens are best during the peak season, typically October through February.

The first step is washing them--a time-consuming task, but it's well worth the trouble. To ease the removal of dirt and grit from the leaves, Test Kitchens professional Angela Sellers recommends chopping the greens first, then soaking them. It's best to soak and rinse the leaves four to five times. The result is perfectly clean greens.

Choosing the proper seasoning, however, can be a touchy subject in the South. Some argue that it's better to add salt pork to the pot, while others insist on ham hocks. Some cooks opt to embellish their greens with other ingredients, such as chicken broth, bacon, garlic, onions, and even wine, though purists prefer to keep it simple.

We tried several variations, and after much debate at the taste-testing table, we unanimously gave the nod to Southern Turnip Greens and Ham Hocks. Thanks to my husband, I will forever enjoy this quintessential Southern dish.