collard greens with cornmeal dumplings

One of my favorite cookbook purchases of the last year is Toni Tipton-Martin‘s Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking. It’s one of those incredible books that even from the pages of the introduction quietly but irrevocably pivots some of the ways you think about food. Tipton-Martin talks about growing up in the Black Beverly Hills of Los Angeles, one of several communities in the U.S. that she says are rarely discussed in the media, “an omission of black middle and upper classes that serves to stereotype African Americans as poor, uneducated, and possibly dangerous.” Growing up, she had a diverse culinary upbringing, with her mother’s homegrown fruits and vegetables at the center, but she found that culinary heritage, and the larger story of the African American food that encompasses the middle class and well-to-do “was lost in a world that confined the black experience to poverty, survival, and soul food.” She found it frustrating. With this book, she hoped to tell a multifaceted story of African American food that includes, but also looks beyond, what people call Southern and soul.

smoky soul stock with bacon swapthe vegetablesready to make the greenswash your greens

And that’s just the introduction. For each recipe, headnotes explain the historical roots of the dish, cookbooks and literature that lend greater understanding, and the ways creative cooks are treating it today. While I’d already heard great things about the Baked (Barbecued) Beans, Peach-Buttermilk Ice Cream, Biscuits, Benne Wafers, I still found deciding what to cook first nearly impossible because Jerelle Guy’s magnificent photos make what is already delicious even more luxurious, until I remembered that my husband has been patiently requesting that I make collard greens for, oh, about all of almost-17 years we’ve been together. I’m one of the women she mentions in the intro that didn’t grow up eating a lot of greens, but I’ve come to like them as much as he does. Collards are, I’ve learned, spectacularly easy to grow, cook, and eat — they get sweet and almost silky after a long simmer. Traditional, Southern, soul, or country-style greens — Tipton-Martin calls them a “totemic soul food dish” — are often simmered for a long time, until quite tender, in a broth of ham hocks and other aromatics called potlikker, but she says they needn’t be cooked forever, just until they’re as tender as you like them, so this recipe provides a range. Choose the state of doneness that suits your taste and the greens you have.

ribbon the leavesmince the stemsbegin the braisefinished greensmaking the cornmeal dumplingscollard greens with cornmeal dumplings

Where I’ve been: It’s off-topic, it feels like oversight not to catch you up. I’d intended this recipe for the days leading up to July 4th, to go with the ribs, cornbread, baked beans, and conversations about what America is vs. what we would like it to be. But that weekend, the New York Times ran a piece they’d asked me to write about some thoughts I’d tweeted the week before about the binds that many of us are in as we head into a new school year. I’ve since been on Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, spoken on a panel to the House of Representatives (!), as well as radio shows and podcasts, on phone calls with teachers unions and childcare advocacy organizations and it’s been an honor to get to speak up for the people (kids, parents, teachers, essential workers) I think I are being hurt the most by a lack of funding and job protections, but it’s also been very surreal, not at all the July I was expecting to have (which involved more orzo salads, s’mores, socially distant sandwiches, and frozen drinks, naturally) but as it slows down, I’m excited to get back to talking about cooking, too.



Six months ago: Roasted Squash and Tofu with Ginger
One year ago: Corn Salad with Chile and Lime
Two years ago: Grilled Zucchini Ribbons with Pesto and White Beans
Three years ago: Grilled Pizza and Confetti Party Cake
Four years ago: Peaches and Cream Bunny Cake
Five years ago: Green Beans and Almond Pesto and Very Blueberry Scones
Six years ago: Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings and Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches
Seven years ago: Slow-and-Low Dry Rub Oven Chicken and Grilled Bacon Salad with Arugula and Balsamic
Eight years ago: Blackberry Gin Fizz and Bacon Corn Hash
Nine years ago: Skirt Steak with Bloody Mary Tomato Salad and Flatbreads with Honey, Thyme, and Sea Salt
Ten years ago: Bread and Butter Pickles, Blue Cheese and Red Potato Tart, Zucchini and Ricotta Galette and Porch Swing
Eleven years ago: Mediterranean Pepper Salad, Cherry Brown Butter Bars and Watermelon Lemonade
Twelve years ago: Chopped Vegetables, Watermelon, and Feta Salad
Thirteen years ago: Rosanne Cash’s All-American Potato Salad and Ratatouille’s Ratatouille

Collard Greens with Cornmeal Dumplings

I was unable to get ham hock or smoked turkey wings the week I made these (in the more unevenly-stocked months of the pandemic) and decided to use bacon (8 ounces thick-cut in 2-inch segments) instead for the smoky flavor. The broth doesn’t have the depth of a broth made with bones, but the flavor was excellent.

    Smoky Soul Stock
  • 2 smoked ham hocks or smoked turkey wings (see Note)
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 4 celery stalks, including leaves, halved
  • 2 carrots, trimmed and quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Greens and dumplings
  • 1 1/2 quarts Smoky Soul Stock (above)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound collard greens
  • 2 small dried red chile peppers or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste (used 2t diamond in greens)
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt, to taste

Make the Smoky Soul Stock: In a large heavy stockpot, bring 3 quarts water, the smoked meat, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, until the flavors are well-blended, about 2 hours. The broth develops a stronger flavor the longer you let it simmer.

Remove the meat from the broth. When cool enough to handle, pull it off the bones (discard the skin, fat, and bones). Chop the meat and reserve for another use. Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the stock. Refrigerate the stock until the fat floats to the top. Use a slotted spoon to skim off the fat and discard. Store the stock tightly covered in the fridge or freezer.

Make the Collard Greens with Cornmeal Dumplings: In a saucepan, bring the stock, onion, and garlic to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer while preparing the greens.

Thoroughly wash the greens and trim away the stems, if desired. Discard the stems or chop small. Stack 2 or 3 leaves on a cutting board and roll tightly into a log. Slice the greens crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons. Place the greens and the chiles in the broth and return to a simmer. Cook, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours for very tender greens; you may cook them for less if you have young greens or prefer greens with more chew. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Spoon out about 1 cup of the potlikker (the cooking broth) and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the reserved potlikker, and heat to just below boiling. Remove the potlikker mixture from the heat and whisk half of it (1/2 cup) it into the dry ingredients, and more if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time (I needed almost the full cup to reach a thick batter consistency). Let stand 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, use wet fingertips (or in my case, a big scoop) to shape the dough into 6 dumplings.

During the last 15 minutes of the collards’ cooking time, carefully drop the cornmeal dumplings into the pot with the greens, making sure the dumplings rest in the potlikker. Cover the pot and simmer until the dumplings are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve the greens and dumplings in bowls with plenty of potlikker.

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120 comments on collard greens with cornmeal dumplings

  1. joelfinkle

    I’ve made a casserole very much like this, with cornbread over the entire top.

    I don’t know why, but the only cooked greens I ever saw growing up were spinach — and I loved them. Yeah, I was brought up in a Jewish household, but we didn’t keep Kosher (although butterburgers, bearnaise on steak etc. were unthinkable, we certainly had bacon, pork ribs, etc.), but maybe my mother just didn’t like them (too late to ask). But I discovered a few years ago that all those sturdy greens are awesome: Lacinato kale is one of my favorite things to grow because it’s useful in so many forms. Mustard greens are much milder cooked but raw make a great spicy foil on a burger with bleu cheese. Hail greens!

  2. Karen

    This looks wonderful! My garden is over run with kale right now, how do you think this recipe would work with lacinato kale instead of collards?

    1. deb

      I think it will but I would expect them to need much less cooking time. You want to cook it to your desired texture, regardless, but I don’t think kale will hold up to 1.5 hours.

      1. Elaine DeFelice

        Frozen collards cook up great. My fil would freeze the fresh collards to get the bitterness out. They would turn out delicious.
        As a note: i usually cook mine right out of the garden and I don’t notice any bitterness.

  3. Shari

    Any suggestions to make this vegetarian/pork free? Veg broth with some liquid smoke mixed in perhaps? Or maybe using a smoked onion in the broth?

    1. Adrian

      I often use smoked paprika to make smoky things vegetarian. I might try that here. Or maybe just pastrami (it’s just me, and I only need to avoid pork, not other meat. But vegetarians are shopping for me, so it gets a bit awkward.)

      How well does this keep? Do the dumplings go soggy in the refrigerator, or are they ok?

    2. Emily

      I would second the recommendation for smoked paprika, which I’ve used before to impart a smoky flavor when I didn’t feel like buying bacon for a recipe, but some of these other ideas sound intriguing! (Liquid smoke would make me nervous, personally, because it seems really easy to overdo.)

    3. Emmie

      We doctored some veg broth with parmesan rinds, dried mushrooms, kombu, and a touch of liquid smoke, and it was delicious!

    4. ginger b

      This was so. delicious. I made a vegan version with a combo of mushroom broth and homemade vegetable stock instead of the smoky soul stock, and added a splash of liquid smoke with the greens. Also subbed vegan butter, and only used 1/2 tsp chili flakes. Highly recommend for anyone looking for a vegan/vegetarian option!

  4. Gretchen

    Would you recommend just leaving out the meat to make it vegetarian? Maybe a little smoked paprika to approximate the smoke from the meat?

  5. Kristie Mayer

    This sounds wonderful. A lot of steps and don’t understand the freezing of the broth unless you are making ahead of time and want to have broth all ready.

  6. Nell

    Welcome back, and thank you for your hard work and advocacy! I love your writing, whether it’s on banana bread or social revolutions. Thanks for cultivating a great space.

  7. Diana

    I’ve made dozens of recipes from your site and I own your original cookbook. Your recipes are awesome and they flipping work every time. I know your crackly banana bread recipe by heart and make it twice a month at least.

    But I’ve never commented until today. You’re awesome, you know it. I hope you know it.

    And then NYT. That NYT article hit me so hard and made me feel so seen that I actually shared on my LinkedIn. As a Serious Business Lawyer, I have never talked about my kid on LinkedIn. I didn’t have a picture of her in my office. But four months into lockdown in California, realizing that my child will not actually be starting public school kindergarten in August, I’m at a breaking point. So THANK YOU for helping me find the words and giving me a way to scream into the void of my professional network and receive primal screams back from other working mothers, and most importantly of all, lots of clicks from the men in my professional world who hopefully read the article after they clicked on it. This is especially helpful as my school district will be 100% distance learning through at least the fall (HAHAHAHAHA).

    THANK YOU for being in awesome in all ways.

    And since my husband grew up in the south, and has also been asking for collards for years, I’m going to attempt collards for the first time with your guidance.

  8. Lora

    While this isn’t a recipe I will ever make (I’m not a fan of either collards or cornmeal) you have captivated me with your description of the cookbook itself and I have requested it from my library. Thank you!

  9. Shawna

    At first glance, I thought you posted a picture of kallalo and fungi (pronounced foon-gee) – a dish I grew up eating in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Food connects us in so many ways. I’m looking forward to trying this.

  10. I just want to affirm the gratitude for your NYT piece! Your sentiment at the end fits our family well: “Even those who found a short-term solution because they had the luxury to hit the pause button on their projects and careers this spring to manage the effects of the pandemic — predicated on the assumption that the fall would bring a return to school and child care — may now have no choice but to leave the work force.” I’m leaving my job next month for a whole host of reasons, many of them positive, but one of them being that I can’t keep this up. Thanks for naming what so many of us are feeling.

    1. Cara

      I agree 100%. I have been lucky enough to have the flexibility to cut back my hours, but now I am trying to figure out how to increase them again with no reliable source of childcare. I appreciate you talking the mom whispers/texts public.

  11. Shana

    If I wanted to make this vegan could I use liquid smoke to replace the smoked wings or bacon? How much would you recommend?

  12. Karen Gover

    Thank you so much for your article in the New York Times. My husband and I have felt keenly the stress of school being closed, and it was already a system hostile to working parents–i.e., school ends at 3 but the workday goes till 5 or longer, not to mention summer break, which makes no sense in a post-agricultural society.
    I wish that you had also mentioned that the reason why our politicians don’t particularly care about this issue is a pretty basic one: misogyny. Connected to that is the belief among many people in our society that women should stay home with their children and not have careers in the first place.

    1. Mary

      Schools should educate, not babysit. Already the day is too long to be about learning. I have witnessed so many parents sending their kids to school when they are sick because they have to go to work. Also, so many complaints when school is cancelled due to inclement weather because parents don’t want to or can’t stay home with their children. I do understand that it’s a problem for working parents, but it’s not a problem that schools should solve. Now we are in the middle of a pandemic and trying to do the best we can. Expecting teachers to risk their lives is not the answer. We can’t even get kids to keep their phones in their pockets. There is no way I’m going to trust them to be good about masks.

      1. JS

        A couple of things, Mary –

        First of all, with distance learning, it’s not just having to babysit your kids. It’s having to take on the full-time job of homeschooling along with the full-time job you already have, if you have the luxury of working at home. Obviously, if your job won’t let you work from home, then…what? Tether the kid to a tree?

        Second of all, if schools aren’t the answer, then what is? Many working families can’t afford to lose one parent’s income, and hiring a nanny (assuming you can find one who will take enough precautions) effectively wipes out one parent’s income anyway. This is a massive problem. You can’t just waive it away with a “figure it out.” We’ve been trying to figure it out since March. We need help. This isn’t sustainable.

        1. Mary

          Hi JS and Josephine,
          I think you are misinterpreting me- I never said it wasn’t a massive problem, because of course it is- it’s a pandemic! I never said anything about “waiving it away or figuring it out”. I also don’t understand why you are talking about “tying kids to bedposts” either, Josephine, and won’t even start trying to…. I’ll take it that your snippy remarks are due to the fact that you’re both stressed and tired. Of course there’s a big problem. In order for kids to go to school, it needs to be safe, though! I’m sure you wouldn’t want to send your kids to school if you thought it would risk their lives.This is a huge problem that the federal government needs to subsidize.
          As you can see, several school districts have already announced distance learning to start the school year because of the risks. So, I guess they don’t think attending school physically is the answer either.

          1. Josephine

            I might be a little tired and stressed, some days my three boys ages 3, 6, and 8 can leave me feeling like that. Most days they are helpful and hilarious but not always. However I’m starting to feel snippy in regards to the people telling all working parents that they are “using school too much like daycare” Or as Nora describes it here, “dumping their kids on someone else while they go to work” Here I become frustrated. We are in a pandemic. Parent’s are trying to say, how are we supposed to go back to work while also watching our kids? And immediately people accuse us of “using school as daycare and not raising our own kids” How exactly does one not “use school as daycare?” Stay at home and never hold a job even while your kids are in school?

      2. Josephine

        Well Mary, the alternative before kids were in school for most of the day was that they either were poor and they started working in factories or fields by age 7, or the girls cared for their younger siblings while their mothers worked.
        Or they were rich and were cared for by the governess. There is no magical time that parents were attentive 24/7 to their children. Even in the magical miss-remembered 1950’s when for a short post war time there was enough wealth in America for mothers to stay home and not work, they were not all spending their days making science experiments with their little darlings. So yes we all understand that the modern school system is actually partly day care for our kids. But it is better than it used to be. In france at the turn of 19th century it was common for working mom’s (washer women, maids etc) to either send toddlers to women in the country who looked after far too many children with a corresponding high mortality rate, or to leave them tied with string to the bed posts.

        1. Nora

          Josephine and JS,
          I agree with Mary that schools are much too frequently used as a way for parents to dump their kids on someone else for the day while they go to work. Now that kids are home parents face the reality of dealing with what teachers have to put up with every day; misbehaved and poorly mannered kids who just stare at their devices and have no desire to learn or pay attention. Sorry that you’re forced to spend time with your kids! How awful. Now maybe more parents can realize how they actually should be responsible for forming their children into well behaved individuals and not the teachers. Most people don’t realize that teachers have no one on their side- not parents and not even the school administration. Being held hostage by the school system is not up to the teachers- parents should remember that if they have a problem with how schools do things that they can go to the town and voice their complaints. I’ve read countless stories about teachers who currently have classrooms still open in other states and they end up sick or dying! There is no way that a bunch of teenage students are going to want to keep their masks on all day, so then you’re putting the teacher in danger who has no choice but to go in and be the only one policing these children. Schools should not be opening back up in the Fall. I do not feel safe sending my kids back to school when we live in a country that is currently being shut out by other nations because of how poorly we have dealt with this pandemic, and I certainly won’t be responsible for having teachers go back in classrooms before it is safe to return.

          1. Kasha

            I do hope Deb kicks you off the debate team. You’re also offensive and dismissive of both kids (“misbehaved”? “poorly mannered”? whose kids are you talking about) and working parents (“dump their kids on someone”?). I do not think this rhetoric belongs on this blog, or for that matter anywhere else, but here we are…

            1. Bev

              Agree 100% with you, Kasha. Of course schools should not be assumed to be day cares—BUT is it not fair that we should also assume that schools WILL be available to educate and, yes, watch over, our children from approx 8am to 3pm for approx 180 weekdays per year?

              As for kids not keeping on their masks—-time for school admin to grow a pair, EXPECT mask-wearing compliance from everyone, support their faculty in quick, consistent discipline, AND expect backup from their school districts (ie, no tolerance of nonsensical lawsuits from overprotective parents).

              And I will bet 110% that Nora is a stay at home mom, lucky her, who directly benefits from ALL the lower-wage earners who MUST go out to work despite the pandemic—grocery store and other essential shop workers, take-out restaurants, trash pickup, let alone all the medical pros out there. So it’s pretty cheeky to suggest that any of those folks are dumping their kids. What else is there for them to do when they CANNOT be at home, let alone have the bandwidth to homeschool them, and cannot possibly afford day care???

              Where a lot of money needs to go is into more stringent safety measures in ALL school so that ALL kids can return in reasonable—not perfect—safety.

          2. Anrev

            Bravo Nora. This is why our children are lacking in education and falling behind other countries. Teachers cannot teach, they spend the majority of their time herding cats so to speak. And God forbid they try to discipline one of the students, they are threanted with a lawsuit from helicopter Karen.

  13. Bridgit

    Thank you so much for your NYT article. I read it not realizing you were the author until part way through. I so deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness on all the topics you choose to speak on, from reducing sugar to racism. You do so with flexibility and grace. As a parent and teacher, I found the NYT article spot on. I’m very much looking forward to making this, just as soon as our market has collards.

  14. Leah Hooper

    Thank you for using your platform to amplify Black voices! And thank you to Toni Tipton-Martin for insisting that we expand the narrative to reflect Black lives and experience that white supremacy makes invisible. Brava.

  15. Kyle

    Make the chicken and dumplings. We’re a house divided…my sweetheart loves the rolled dumplings because they remind him of tamales…while I think the drop dumplings are just heaven.

  16. Ashley

    Potlikker, in Newfoundland, is essentially the liquid that is comprised of boiling root veg, cabbage and salt beef to perfection… that liquid can either be used for gravy or to drink straight from the pot, depending on how traditional you are. It is the by product of cooking a traditional Newfoundland jiggs dinner. Lovely.

    These greens could be replaced for the turnip greens that are usually cooked for dins… instead of dumplings we would make a form of soda bread. These look delicious, and I’m eager to switch up a bit of tradition with this. I have an abundance of chard in the yard, think I could use that instead? Thanks!

      1. Karen

        Ooh, I would enjoy that too, being married to a Newfoundlander. I recommend Bonita’s Kitchen on You Tube (no affiliation, just a fan) for authentic Newfoundland food.

      2. Sue

        Try He lives in St Johns and has lots of, I guess, traditional Newfoundland recipes.

        BTW, my husband and I visited Newfoundland for 2 weeks in 2019 and I LOVED it. That land spoke to me and I can’t wait to go back.

  17. Liz

    Oh Deb! I’ve been reading your blog since 2007 when I was 20, and I have to say I get worried about you when you don’t post for awhile :) So glad you were busy with making your voice heard and advocating effectively for working parents – I had dreamed up a worse fate for you or someone you love.

    Thanks for all you’ve given me over the years and to all of us in your community – and thank you for using your platform to highlight the African-American experience!

  18. Bill Wood

    I’ve been doing collards in the instant pot a few times. Instead of ham hocks, I’ve picked up some prosciutto ends/trimmings from the deli section of my green grocer, and trimming, then dicing those into 1” or so. Makes a good substitution, and it all cooks in about 45 mins.

  19. Ora Gourarie

    Deb, it was so wonderful to read your editorial in the NYTimes. You said things that need saying by all us who care about children. I’m reading it thinking, “hey, I know her! She’s my cooking friend!” You write as well as you cook. Thank you!

  20. Ivy Dawkins

    Aahhh, this recipe brings me back to 1950’s and 1960’s when my dad made collards and cormneal dumplings! He added a bit of onion or scallon & tops with garlic to the mixture and if I remember correctly a spicy taste maybe red pepper. My mouth is drooling thinking about this recipe. Thank you for the lovely memories of real southern cooking! ♡♡♡♡♡

  21. Michelle

    I read your article in the Times- thank you for finding the words I was not able to come up with. And also thank you for being so awesome that my sister and I email your recipes back and forth, while making “squee” noises :)

  22. Suzan Wachs Katzir

    Re: your op-ed. In the JOFA Facebook group, “Eve” sniffed haughtily that “education isn’t childcare.” Well, no, it isn’t, or ought not to be, but we’re over a barrel here the rest of us replied. No, no, said Eve, you should get a nanny like I have. Um… and how are we supposed to afford one? (Leaving aside the question of finding someone to hire.) Well! If you can’t afford one, you’re living above your means and should find a cheaper place to live. Oh, and get a better paying career. Oy. Talk about needing to check one’s privilege! A week-plus later and I’m still seething. My babies are in their 30s now, but still dealing with childcare issues despite well-paying careers.

    1. JV

      Well said. I think that what this pandemic has really highlighted is that the system was already strained, especially for women, and the pandemic just fully broke it.

  23. Jackie P

    First time commenter. I was raised that you use smoked ham hocks, shanks or Boston Butt (small smoked ham sold in the Midwest). You boil the meat, onion and red pepper flakes (to taste) for about 45 minutes. You then add the cleaned chopped greens to the pot, salt to taste, and cook on medium heat until done. My mother mixed mustard, turnip and kale (cuts bitterness of turnips) greens. Sometimes we add a small chopped cabbage to the collards when almost done for a variation. We use pepper vinegar or hot sauce to taste. Not quite as many steps and just as good. I really enjoy reading your emails. I always find something to smile about. Keep up the good work.

    PS We never had greens with dumplings but always had regular or hot water cornbread.

    1. Cara

      Thanks for taking the time to share, Jackie- I will try this! We buy meat in bulk and I’m still looking for ways to use the Boston butt we get.

  24. Mags

    This looks delicious and I will need to look for collard greens on my next trip to the store. I also want to thank you for your article on the NYTimes it stated so exactly what I am feeling and felt so understood when I read it. Thank you!!

  25. Skatie

    What an amazing article, thank you for sharing it here! Is it by any chance anywhere else besides the NYT site? They only allow one view a month, so if you don’t have a paid subscription, you won’t be able to read it.

    1. Meredith

      I happened to have a bunch of collards (and kale) waiting to be used in my fridge when this recipe popped up on Instagram. I used bacon as it is what I had on hand. Did not use any chili flakes when making because my 3 year old is averse to spicy- but don’t worry, my 5 year old put plenty of Frank’s on his greens. This was an easy recipe (time required does not equate to “work” in my book) and turned out just as described. My dumplings were a bit dense, but my skills in that area are lacking and I likely overworked the dough. I did end up needing the full cup and maybe a little extra of the stock to make the dumpling “batter.” Greens were great, and the stock was flavorful but agree that with just bacon it likely lacked depth that a ham hock would bring. Regardless, my 5 year old asked for a second helping of greens and gobbled them up. That’s a win in my book!

      1. Fleur

        Just a quick response to “dense” dumplings, that’s not lack of skill on your part, that’s cuz this recipie makes a dense dumpling, which IMHO works well with the silky greens. I served it with smoked sausage and it was FINE!

  26. Elemjay

    Your article was awesome. As you say, it is OUTRAGEOUS that parents are just supposed to pick up the slack and no one appears to have any sensible plans.

  27. JV

    Just joining everyone here and saying thank you for your work in all arenas, from this fabulous blog to the advocacy that was going on behind the scenes. I figured you were busy with something related to your excellent article, but I had no idea how busy! You always do the work, no matter what. Thank you for continuing to highlight Black chefs.
    And now I really want to know more about the Black Beverly Hills!

  28. Gablesgirl

    Deb, thanks for your good thoughts and commentary in the NYT. I am child-free and this an insightful look into the challenges working moms are dealing with. Love to hear more editorial from you.

  29. Alex

    Bravo, Deb! Your article on the NYT made me cry. Everything you said was so true and deeply resonated with my family current situation (two working parents, three kids ages 2-10, and one of us – me! – who is basically being forced to quit her job). Thank you for writing that article.

  30. Rn

    I never comment, though always make your recipes. THANK YOU for what you wrote in the NYT and for your advocacy. You are amazing on all fronts.
    With admiration,
    A fan

  31. Mary Hanno

    Long time fan, first time commenter. Thank you for your recipes, humor, and all around greatness. Your NYT piece was thoughtful and needed. Some of the responses have been troubling. I would like to point out that teachers are generally caring and thoughtful people who are trying to do the best they can under the circumstances. And let’s not forget that teachers are human beings caught up in the same uncertainty as the rest of us, and most of them are also parents. So maybe we should try to “walk in their shoes” for a day—as they try to adapt to the changing rules and standards, post lesson plans and put together distance learning packets, teach online lessons, attend zoom meetings AND teach/homeschool and/or take care of their own children at home!

  32. Emmie

    We wanted to love this so much, but the dumplings were leaden and dry. Perhaps stone-ground cornmeal needs more potlikker? I used the full cup and probably should have used more, but it was moldable and I was worried about adding too much.

    For anyone looking to make this vegetarian(ish): a Parmesan rind broth with a dash of liquid smoke was absolutely delicious.

  33. Anna S

    Wow Deb. I’ve been a longtime follower and have made innumerate recipes but never thought to comment before. However I just want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for your NYT article. As a single working mother (who works in healthcare of all fields!) I am so grateful that someone was able to express the anguish that myself and so many other parents were feeling in such an elegant and precise way. I am almost in tears! Thank you again, and definitely sharing.

    The collard green recipe looks great as well :).

  34. Meredith

    I love love love collard greens (grew up in SC), but I never seem to be able to find them in the City. Where did you get yours?!

  35. Nicole Griffith

    Hi Deb I’m so hungry for this recipe- I have collards from the farmer’s market and I was looking for a plan and up popped your email… but there’s a wrinkle- I don’t eat meat, would you make it with veg broth or is too much lost in the translation? Do you have recommendations? Thank you! Nicole

  36. G

    Do the dumplings hold up if you put in the refrigerator – there are only 2 of us and i would probably eat all of them – i make collards all the time but never put dumplings on top of them – Looking forward to making soon.

  37. Dalnapen1

    Glad you are o.k., Deb, and sorry to hear about your husband. Pulling for you both! This is a stressful time–thanks for your ongoing efforts in activism for people of color like me, and advocacy for parents. Go girl! These collards sound like how we make them–only add a jalapeno either to the stock or to the greens, it adds such a nice flavor. Also we’d never throw away a ham hock–but play dibs on who gets to eat it! Be well.

  38. Jenna

    I made the potlicker a day in advance, to save in cooking time. My Chicago grocery store had smoked turkey wings on sale, so I used that for the broth. I’ll do this again- it was a really yummy liquid! The other alteration I made was I used an epicurious recipe for cornmeal dumplings, based on another comment that these were too hard. I felt like with that much cornmeal (in the original recipe), the cornmeal wouldn’t soften up or cook through. I always have that issue w/ cornbread, where the meal is too hard in the final product. In any case, this book sounds amazing and I added it to my wishlist!

  39. Kelly

    Excellent article in the NYT. As a mother who was just told our schools will be 100% online learning this fall, I feel I’m about to crater.

  40. April

    Wow. This Smoky Soul Stock….just amazing! The collards and cornmeal dumplings were a great combination. I made this with your oven ribs, and potato salad.. what a dinner. Thank you!

    I also ordered the cookbook you mentioned. Cannot wait!

  41. Jason

    Does anyone have any advice about what the right consistency is for the dumpling batter? I got it just to the point where it felt a bit wet and sticky and the dumplings would basically hold their shape, but spread a little bit if I set one on the counter. But I steamed for 20 minutes and they turned out very dense and pasty, even though they seemed cooked through. I’m thinking if they were a little looser, the baking powder would have given them a bit more of a lift. But dumplings are new territory for me.

  42. Cheri S

    This was absolutely the best collard recipe I’ve tasted. We got collards and turnip greens in our CSA box today, so I used them both so we had lots and increased the recipe by 1/2. Locally smoked bacon was our meat of choice. The cornmeal dumplings were new to me – they were so tasty! Thanks for another sharing another great recipe discovery!

  43. Gina L.

    Hi! I’ve got the stock on the stove now. The recipe recommends pulling the meat off the bones after making broth and using it in something else. Buying ham hocks was new to me! Any suggestions for how to use that shredded meat?

    1. deb

      Some people stir it back into the greens, but I do not. You could add it to soups, too; it’s great in bean soups, and classic in split pea.

  44. Andrea

    I also found my dumplings very dense and dry, which I fully admit may have been my fault. Any suggestions to lighten them up? I used a full cup of potlikker in the mix. We also used all the potlikker from the stock (none left over) and I still wanted more because of how dry my dumplings were. Having said that, the collards were so tasty and I would definitely make this again, just with more potlikker to go around.

  45. Blue_Alaska

    Received collard greens in our CSA last week and was excited since I had noticed this recipe the week before. Did not make the stock. I instead sauteed pancetta and a small onion and garlic in the bottom of my dutch oven, then added 4 cups Better than Bullion Beef and 2 cups Better than Bullion Roasted Vegetable. In went the greens, 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes, one chipotle and some adobo sauce. I used 1 cup medium grind cornmeal and 1/2 cup fine grain cornmeal and although the dumplings were dense, they were delicious.

    This recipe was a bit spicy for me, but my spouse loved it and if we get collards in the CSA again, I’ll make this a second time!

  46. Michaela

    From this southern cook, I have to compliment that fine chiffonade you got on your collards! That’s how my Mama taught me to make them. Now, we would use vinegar instead of the sugar, but when collards are in season here in South Carolina I promise to make this just as directed.

  47. Beth

    We cooked our dumplings for twice as long but they were so dense that the broth never penetrated them fully. Where did we go wrong to have such dense dumplings? Too much liquid? Too fine a cornmeal? Everything else was delicious, but the dumplings weren’t edible in the end.

  48. The greens were delicious. The cornmeal dumplings were awful. I am sorry to be so harsh. I looked forward to making these for 3 days and they were not good. They needed a little sweet and the wrong amt of flour/cornmeal turned them into odd tasting and I could not eat them. Followed recipe to a T. The only thing I noticed when I compared other recipes was your recipe called 1/2 c flour and 1 1/2c
    Cornmeal and 1 t sugar whereas other recipes called for 1/2c cormeal and 1 1/2 flour and 2 t sugar.
    I am sorry. I wanted to like them!!🙂

  49. Karen

    Ooh, I would enjoy that too, being married to a Newfoundlander. I recommend Bonita’s Kitchen on You Tube (no affiliation, just a fan) for authentic Newfoundland food.

  50. Karen

    I made these yesterday and they were fantastic. My grocery store didn’t have smoked ham hocks or smoked turkey wings so I used what they did have: smoked pork loin chops. The potlikker was delicious and since I made it in the instant pot, I had enough to make a batch of lentil soup as well as the kale dish here. Thank you for a wonderful recipe to celebrate kale’s harvest zenith!

  51. Molly

    This was so tasty! A few tweaks I made… I used a fresh ham hock and saved the meat and included it with the greens. I also added a can of black-eyed peas. In terms of the cornmeal, all I had on hand was instant polenta, which seemed to work really well. I needed to steam the dumplings a little longer but they were delish.

  52. C Middleton

    Verdict: YUM, make again with modifications below.

    I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a while and just got around to making it; I’ve read such great things about Jubilee and this recipe appealed to me for its combination of humble ingredients and hearty, comforting result. The flavor of the collards and potlikker at the end was fantastic! I try not to buy cookbooks because I struggle to actually use them for meal-planning after my initial read-through, but I’m going to put Jubilee on my wish list so that I can learn more about Black American foodways.

    I’m including a few cooking notes below for anyone who may find them useful. No criticism intended for the original recipe or its SK iteration — I’m simply a mediocre & absent-minded cook who needs to mark up recipes.

    (1) Dumpling density — I am not afraid of dense dumplings (honest,y I love it when they have a little toothsomeness), but these were just too heavy. I followed exactly as directed up until shaping the dumplings — I made 10-12 hoping that smaller size would produce lighter dumplings. Not quite. I suspect two factors: (a) the flour-to-cornmeal ratio and (b) the slow incorporation of the butter/broth mixture into the dry ingredients causing over-mixing. I also think that in my dutch oven, the dumplings weren’t able to fully submerge and that could also have factored in.

    (a) Next time I think I’ll use 2 parts AP flour to 1 part cornmeal, as in an Edna Lewis recipe I just found for the same dish. [Simmered Greens with Cornmeal Dumplings, Edna Lewis, Gourmet January 2008, on Epicurious]

    (b) Since I needed the entire liquid volume of the butter + potlikker mixture, next time I will just mix it all in to avoid overmixing. I found this same Toni Tipton-Martin recipe in another location, where the bit-by-bit method is not indicated. [Collard greens and macaroni cheese: African American food classics, July 2020, The Guardian]

    2. I used some smoked ham shank from my freezer, dropped straight into the pot at the beginning of the recipe — this worked beautifully and I’ll be using the remaining meat for a carbonara-style pasta. I’d probably recommend ham shank over hock since it yields a bit more meat for later use, and of course the flavor of the potlikker was so good that I saw no need at all to put ham into the greens themselves.

    3. I probably cooked my greens for only about an hour and was happy with the texture then; not sure any more time would have added much virtue. I used 4 chiles de arbol and was very pleased with the result — a hint of zing without actually being spicy or finding chile seeds floating about.

  53. KG

    I made this last night. The changes I made: Only one ham hock, chard instead of collards, honey subbed for sugar, and cassava flour subbed for all purpose.
    The greens were phenomenal. Their total cook time was maybe an hour. Very flavorful, perfectly smoky. I added salt to taste, and a little smoked paprika. I would absolutely make this again, but maybe with the dumplings in the form of a side of cornbread. Like other reviewers have said, they are super dense and not very enjoyable to eat. I did make substitutions, so some of that is on me. Glad to have made something a little different and to have a go-to recipe to force myself to eat a ton of greens for dinner. I may just grow collards this season specifically for this recipe.

  54. Megan Lasswell

    The first time I made this I couldn’t get the dumplings to cook through and was disappointed. The second time through I made the dumplings MUCH smaller (for a total of 12) and found they cooked through just fine, though the pot was pretty crowded. So I recommend halving their size. Nice chew and flavor.

  55. Alison

    I loved the collards, but also thought the dumplings were too dense for my taste. I used the whole 1C of liquid and made them smaller – probably more like 12 total – and still felt like they were dense and dry. Joy the Baker has a recipe for black eyed peas with cornbread dumplings – I might try playing with her dumpling recipe instead.