Slow Cooker Greens and Beans Soup

October is a glorious month on the Gulf Coast.  The oppressive humidity of summer is gone along with the threat of any big hurricanes.  The weather is still warm during the day and cools off nicely in the evening.  For me this is enough reason to start breaking out the soup recipes.  This is one of my husband’s favorite soups and he affectionately refers to it as “Lawnmower Soup”.

This recipe was given to me by my hairstylist, Beth.  A couple of years ago I was getting my hair cut and bemoaning the fact that I had no idea what to cook for dinner that night.  She suggested this soup using canned, seasoned greens and cooked on the stove-top.  I have made it that way numerous times, however, I really prefer to use the frozen collard greens.  This gives me the ability to season the soup the way I like it and to better control the salt content.  In addition, the texture of the cooked, frozen collard greens is much more to my liking.  This is a super easy meal to put together and is made healthier with turkey kielbasa, but if you prefer the pork kielbasa feel free to use it.  You could also substitute a small ham hock for the bacon.  Serve with cornbread for a complete meal.

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Slow Cooker Collard Greens

Collard GreensCollard greens are a true Southern favorite.  This recipe calls for 4 bunches of greens which looks like you are buying a farm.  However, once they are trimmed, cut and wilted down they easily fit into a 6 quart slow cooker.  Collard greens are tough and take a long time to cook which makes the slow cooker an ideal way to make them melt in your mouth delicious.  Don’t be scared off by the pound of bacon, either.  Rendering the fat out of the bacon before adding it to the slow cooker preserves the flavor and keeps the greens from being greasy.  Substitutions that can be made include turnip or mustard greens for the collards and a ham bone or 2 ham hocks for the bacon.

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