Cooking this classic Southern side in a slow cooker not only frees you up to prepare other dishes, it frees up valuable stovetop space, as well. You can also make this holiday favorite a week or two ahead and freeze in air-tight bags, or make Collard Greens a day or two in advance and refrigerate in the slow cooker insert (if you have room!). Let the insert stand at room temp for 30 minutes, then return to slow cooker to reheat. Do not reheat the cold insert straight from the fridge or it will crack. If you’re a Southern cook (or just a lover of Southern food) you’ve heard of and enjoyed the culinary creation that’s called chowchow. If you haven’t, first of all, bless your heart. Second, chowchow is a combination of fresh-picked and quick-pickled produce, in broad terms. A spoonful of chowchow adds that missing vinegar, color, texture, or spice to a dish, depending on the chowchow’s ingredients. Southerners will put chowchow on countless dishes, from barbecue, to hot dogs, to appetizers, and more, so the combination of collard greens and chowchow makes for a supremely Southern masterpiece. You’ll want to keep a jar of this confetti chowchow around because there’s not much it won’t complement.
1 seeded and finely chopped large jalapeño chile (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
How to Make It
Combine first 9 ingredients and 2 teaspoons salt in a 6-quart oval slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 9 hours.
Prepare the Confetti Chowchow: Place onion, red and yellow bell pepper, jalapeño chile, water, distilled white vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, and let stand until cool and vegetables are slightly softened, about 30 minutes. Store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Carefully remove ham hocks and all bits of bone before stirring greens after cooking. Cool ham hocks, and thoroughly remove all fat and bone; return meat to slow cooker and stir into greens. Serve Confetti Chowchow over Garlicky Collard Greens.