This time of year we start getting a ton of green tops from various vegetables: beets, carrots, radishes, then soon to come parsnips, turnips etc., not to mention kale, spinach, mustard, collard and many others. We didn't grow up eating all these greens so I've learned over the last couple of years which I like and which I don't, and I still keep trying new ways of preparing the ones I think I don't like because often I find a way I do like them.
When we're overwhelmed with greens I clean, chop, blanch and freeze them for use during the winter in soups and stews. One of Tim's new favorites follows:
Ham Hocks and Greens
1-2 smoked ham hocks
8-12 cups cold water, salted with 3-4 tbsp salt
12 cups washed, chopped greens, such as collard or mustard
¼ cup sugar
3-4 Tbsp Sriracha Sauce
Optional: 2 Tbsp liquid smoke
Cover ham hocks with cold salted water and cook over medium heat for 3-4 hours. Check the water occasioinally to make sure the ham hocks stay covered in water. If necessary, add more hot water to keep them covered. You want to cook the hocks until they are tender. Then add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook for 1- 1 ½ hours more. Remove the bones from the ham hocks and shred the pork with a fork. Salt to taste and add more Sriracha if you like it spicier. This gets even better as it sits in the fridge for a couple of days. Enjoy!
Note: This is best prepared with hearty greens such as collard, rather than tender greens like spinach.