Why It Works
- Mushrooms add a meaty bite.
- A rich vegan stock adds savory depth.
- Smoked paprika provides the smoky essence of cured pork (minus the pork), while olive oil enriches the broth.
Classic Southern braised collards are simmered with smoked pork for a rich and meaty flavor. This vegan version re-creates all of the dish's most important qualities—a deep, rich, and savory pot likker (broth); meaty bits (in this case, mushrooms) studded throughout; and enough fat to give the collards an unctuous richness well beyond any normal pot of boiled greens. Don't discard those braising juices, either—sip, slurp, or sop them up.
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (105ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound (450g) cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps sliced
- 2 quarts (1.9L) Hearty Vegetable Stock, rehydrated dried mushrooms reserved
- 1 medium yellow onion (about 8 ounces; 225g), sliced into 2-inch lengths
- 1 teaspoon (4g) smoked paprika
- 3 pounds (1.3kg) collard greens, woody stems trimmed and leaves cut into thick ribbons
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Apple cider vinegar, to taste (optional)
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons (45ml) oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add cremini mushrooms and reserved rehydrated mushrooms (from stock) and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add onion and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until softened, about 3 minutes; lower heat if necessary to prevent scorching.
Stir in smoked paprika followed by stock. Bring to a simmer, then add collard greens, pushing down to submerge. Return to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until greens are very tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add remaining 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil.
Add vinegar to taste, if desired, then serve. (You can add vinegar to the pot, or let individual diners season their greens with it at the table.)