Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mixed Greens Pot Liquor Soup

If you haven’t tried this Southern favorite, you’re missing out on an amazingly simple and comforting dish. Nothing warms up a cold evening and says home like a steaming bowl of this delicious soup, which, by the way, has only a trace amount of fat and is packed with fiber, protein and healthful nutrients.

While it’s perfectly acceptable to make this scrumptious soup using (well-cleaned) fresh greens and soaked black-eyed peas, busy folks will appreciate whipping together this comfort food in about five minutes using canned and pre-packaged ingredients. (Allow for additional cooking time).


1 can lightly seasoned turnip greens (I use Glory Foods brand greens)
1 can lightly seasoned collard greens
1 can low-sodium black-eyed peas
1 12-ounce package of lean cubed ham (more or less is fine)
½ medium-sized onion, minced or finely chopped
1 32-ounce carton of reduced sodium chicken broth
1 32-ounce carton of reduced sodium beef broth
Red (cayenne) pepper to taste
Splash of red-wine vinegar (optional)

Stir together all ingredients into a large pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a rapid boil, then reduce heat to a low-boil or simmer for a minimum of thirty minutes. The longer this soup cooks, the better it tastes, as the flavors continue to marry. I’ve cooked it as briefly as a half-hour and it’s delicious, but it’s even tastier (or I’m hungrier!) after it simmers an hour or two. Refrigerate leftovers—still yummy the next day!

Serve with corn muffins or cheddar cornbread to soak up all that delicious pot liquor.

What is Pot Liquor?

Pot liquor (sometimes spelled pot likker) is simply the broth that remains after cooking greens. Since I’ve used canned ingredients in this quick-and-easy recipe, the addition of chicken and beef broths provide additional flavor and liquid to create sumptuous pot liquor.

Why Eat Greens?

Collard greens, turnip greens, beet greens, mustard greens and dandelion greens have long been staples in the Southern and Appalachian diets, but they’ve recently garnered new attention as nutrition powerhouses that promote weight-loss and increase health. Only one-half cup of collard greens contains more calcium than a cup of milk! In addition, greens are chock-full of vitamins A, C and B6, as well as potassium, lutein, folate and magnesium. These nutrients and anti-oxidants help protect against heart disease, cancer and eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.


Ginger said...

Rhonda, how would you adjust the prep directions if using raw beans and greens?

Rhonda Browning White said...

Hello, Ginger! Great question. First, simply prepare the well-soaked black-eyed peas as you typically would, cooking them until soft, but not mushy. Soaking time varies, but usually takes 4-5 hours, so consider soaking them overnight. Cooking time may take up to two hours over medium heat. Add additional water as necessary.

To prepare the greens, wash them several times to ensure you've removed all grit. Cut off any coarse or fibrous stems, then coarsly chop them, until you have about 9-10 cups of prepared raw greens. Since greens tend to be bland, if you're cooking them from raw, you'll need to season them. I'd recommend a chopped onion, a teaspoon or two of minced garlic, the juice of half a lemon, and a ham bone or smoked turkey neck. Cover with water,then cook down, stirring occasionally, until the greens are done. Preparation takes longer than the actual cooking time in this case, as the greens will usually be done in less than ten minutes.

Hope you enjoy the recipe, Ginger!

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