My great aunt, Mamie, was in charge of collards in my family. No one, and I mean, no one, cooked collards but Mamie. It was a daylong process. Picking the collards, soaking them in salt water to remove any lingering insects, washing them, cutting out the core, cooking in ham hocks for at least 3 hours, chopping the collards, and finally extracting the potlikker. It was laborious, so I often chuckle when I see packaged collared all washed and chopped in the grocery. Mamie would have never allowed anyone to chop before cooking.
I own a gigantic Wagner Ware roaster that is the size of child's coffin. I drag it out about three times a year. Turkey for Thanksgiving and possibly Christmas and for a batch of Brunswick stew. The other day I ran across a sale on pre-washed, pre-chopped, pre-packaged collards and thought I would give them a try. Raw collards take up quite a bit of room, so I dragged out the Wagner Ware and set off on my collard adventure.
Needless to say, I have collards to freeze and potlikker for all kinds of endeavors. The Lee Bros. tell a wonderful story about having company for a wedding or some large event and one of the guest, a Yankee, no doubt, threw out the potlikker that the boys were planning to use to poach eggs. Yes, indeed, potlikker poached eggs are a great delicacy.
I love to eat anything that remotely resembles eggs Benedict. Here is a great way to use potlikker and leftover cornbread to make an unusual Benedict.
Old South BenedictIf you wanted an a creamy sauce, add a bit of cream to the poaching liquid and reduce.
Cut a round of cornbread.
Heat the potlikker in a shallow pan until just under boiling and poach an egg.
Place the poached egg on top of the cornbread and cover with potlikker and a few collards.
Need other potlikker ideas? Check these out.