Sam Sifton's Braised Collard Greens

Kate Williams

Despite my Southern heritage, I have never once eaten collards on Thanksgiving (I blame all those over-seasoned and over-cooked bowls of sludgy greens served at family reunions). After cooking up Sam Sifton's Braised Collard Greens, however, I may reconsider.

The greens are shredded then steamed briefly in a potent elixir of bacon fat, butter, and a bottle of beer. Once tender, they cook for only a few minutes to evaporate most of the beer from the pot, and are then tossed with a brightening dash of red wine vinegar. I knew going into the recipe that the bacon and butter would taste great with the greens, but the beer was a total surprise. Its beer-ness dissipates during cooking, leaving only malty sweetness and just a hint of fermented grain to the greens. It was this extra level of complexity that made these greens my favorite side of the season.

Why I picked this recipe: Curious about what beer could bring to the table, I couldn't pass up on this quick and easy green side.

What worked: Bacon, butter, and beer should always grace greens, collards or otherwise.

What didn't: I needed a couple extra minutes to cook off the beer once the greens were steamed, but the collards didn't suffer one bit.

Suggested tweaks: You could absolutely substitute kale or mustard greens here, but I'd steer clear of more tender greens like chard or spinach.

Reproduced by permission of Sam Sifton, author of Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author or publisher, Random House.

Recipe Details

Sam Sifton's Braised Collard Greens

Active 25 mins
Total 25 mins
Serves 4 servings


  • 1 large bunch collard greens, stemmed, the leaves rolled together and chopped into ribbons

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 3 thick slices bacon, cut into lardons

  • 1 bottle beer, amber or dark

  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


  1. Heat butter in a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat until it foams. Add bacon and sauté until it starts to brown.

  2. Add collards to the pan, turn the heat to high, and add the beer. Use a spoon to toss the greens in the fat and beer, then cover and cook for approximately 7 to 10 minutes, until greens are soft and wilted. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until all the liquid has evaporated, another 3 to 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and peppers, add vinegar and toss to combine.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
265 Calories
16g Fat
13g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 265
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 31mg 10%
Sodium 467mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 23mg 116%
Calcium 190mg 15%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 246mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)