So, fresh greens are my thing, but baaabyyyy, there’s something about a pot of southern style mustard and turnip mixed greens with smoked turkey tails (wings, or necks are great too), that just does it for me. Now this is a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner staple in my family, going back as far as I can remember as a child, and they’re so good that I can’t help but make a pot almost monthly in my house, oh and that includes collards, and even kale. I love them all but prefer the way mustard greens sort of melt in your mouth. Growing up, my great-grandmother Amy would pull greens from her garden and casually prepare a wonderful, soulful dinner. I have tried to mimic her since, minus the garden, smh!
First things first, to make my stock, or “pot liquor”, I wash and then submerge 3-4 pieces of smoked meat in a large pot of water, 2 tablespoons of chicken bouillon, 1 tablespoon of onion powder and garlic powder, and boil on medium-high heat, covered for about an hour.
Then I thoroughly wash the greens in cold water. To do this, first grab the bunch and cut the stems at the base of the rubber band about an inch off the leaves, remove them from the stems (my great-grandmother taught me to keep some of the stem for the nutrients so I just pull the thickest part of the stem from the bottom). Pull out yellow, or slimy greens from the bunch and toss. Roll them up and chop horizontally to medium pieces, and finally lay them in salt water to clean. You don’t want any sand/dirt, bugs or grit on your greens so it’s important to wash them, remove from the dirty water, place into a clean bowl to rinse, wash and repeat this step (usually 3-4 times) until your water is clear, and your greens are free from debris.
After cleaning, add greens to the pot of smoked turkey, and add about 1-2 cups of more water if needed to slightly submerge greens (not too much). When greens start to wilt down, add 2 white turnip roots (cut in half), 1 diced onion, 1/2 diced green and red bell peppers, 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon each of garlic powder, onion powder and my favorite, creole seasoning (or a little more, I like it spicy), and about 2 tablespoons of apple-cider vinegar. Cook on medium heat for 2 hours. Taste and add more seasoning to taste if you like, and when they’re tender, they’re done!
- 2 bunches mustard greens, 1 bunch of turnip greens, washed and cut
- 1 lb smoked turkey tails (or necks)
- 6-8 cups water
- 1 diced onion
- 1/2 diced green bell pepper
- 1/2 diced red bell pepper
- 2 white turnip roots
- 2 Tablespoons creole seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon onion powder
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
- 2 Tablespoons apple-cider vinegar