Collard Greens & Cornmeal Dumplings Recipe (2024)

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By á-8095

Collard greens and cornmeal dumplin’s: it’s an iconic combination, straight off an old farmhouse stove. Southern to the core, comforting to the quick, and unpretentious to the bone. But why are they always so bad? Don’t blame the collards: show them some flavorful broth and gentle heat, and they’ll reward you with a sweetness unmatched by other braising greens, and a pleasant, creamy marrow in their stems.

It’s the dumplings that are tough. And they can be tough in so many ways.

Still, everyone likes dough simmered in broth. Consider matzo, gnocchi, pierogi, and wonton. In Germany, there are virtually as many dumplings as there are regions of the country. Here in the US, the mere mention of Chicken and Dumplings is enough to make people swoon. But how often does a dumpling really rise to its reputation? Most are gluey and leaden, yet we wolf them down wildly. Then they sit in the pits of our stomachs after dinner, heavy reminders that dumplings aren’t always as good as they sound.

Our own cornmeal dumplings proved no exception to the bad dumpling rule—at first. Given a traditional simmer-in-the-potlikker cooking, they rose poorly and wore a gooey coat when we fished them out. (The extended simmer wasn’t doing the collards any favors either—collards don’t need hours on the stove, and the dumplings were making their broth cloudy and unappealing.)

The only part of the dumplings that cooked well, it seemed, were the parts that were “above water.” Indeed, it was these parts that prompted us to steam the dumplings separately from the collards in a perforated insert set over boiling water. A more dramatic transformation could not be imagined. When we lifted the lid on the first batch of steamed dumplings, they appeared reborn: plump and light, dry on the outside, moist on the inside, and finely textured. Like a perfect tamal. Plopped into the hot collard-green potlikker they remained intact, succumbing to the broth when cleaved with a spoon.

Equipment Mise en Place
For the collards you will need a large colander; a large, wide saucepan; and a pair of tongs. For the dumplings you will need a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, a steamer insert or collapsible steamer basket (to fit in the large saucepan), a small saucepan, a mixing bowl, and a rubber spatula.

Cook's Notes
From cornbread to johnnycakes, cornmeal absolutely blooms when it comes into contact with hot liquid. Its flavor awakens and its grittiness subdues. We bloomed ours in boiling milk and melted butter. Ahhhhhh. A simple mush, what could be better? The flour we selected to help the dumplings get a grip on themselves was Anson Mills pastry flour, folded lightly into the mush to make a soft dough. This dough may, in fact, seem treacherously soft and difficult to handle, but don’t worry: it will steam into firm, perfect dumplings. Use wet hands to form the dumplings and keep your touch nice and light. For the sake of clarity, the recipe is written so that the collards are cooked before the dumplings are made, but so that the collards don’t wait for their companions, the two really must be cooked in tandem. While the broth simmers (step 3), set up the pot and steamer, and while the collards cook (step 4), make, shape, and start steaming the dumplings. But if, in the end, the collards must wait for a few minutes, don’t worry—they do have patience.

Feedback: I like the greens. I used a different dumpling recipe

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Collard Greens & Cornmeal Dumplings Recipe (1) 1 Picture


  • For the Collards:
  • 1 pounds (2 bunches) collard greens
  • 3 cups Smoked Ham and Chicken Stock
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small piece bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • White vinegar
  • Tabasco
  • For the Dumplings:
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/4 cup (6 ounces) Anson Mills Coarse Yellow Cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup (2.5 ounces) Anson Mills Fine Cloth-Bolted Pastry Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt


Servings 6
Adapted from


Step 1

1. Prepare the collards: Fill a clean sink with cold water. Plunge the collards into the water and agitate them by swirling them about by their stems. Transfer the greens to a large colander. Drain the sink and refill it, and wash the collards again. Shake the collards free of excess water and let them drain in the colander for a few minutes.

2. Trim the stems even with the leaves. Discard the stems. Stack several leaves on top of each other with the stem ends pointing in the same direction. Loosely roll the collards lengthwise into a cigar. Beginning at the leaf end, cut the cigar crosswise into strips 3 inches wide, narrowing the width to 1 inch as you near the stem ends. Turn the strips 90 degrees and cut the strips crosswise into halves or thirds to create big rectangular pieces. Repeat with the remaining collards. You should have well over a pound of cleaned, trimmed collards or about 22 loosely packed cups. Set the collards aside.

3. Bring the stock to a simmer in a large, wide saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bay leaf, sugar, and pepper flakes, if using. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer to infuse flavors, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the collards to the simmering stock, cover the pot, and let the greens cook down, turning them from time to time with tongs, until the leaves are uniformly wilted and stems are tender with creamy centers, 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Cover to keep warm.

5. Make the dumplings: While the stock simmers, fill a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid (one that accommodates a steamer insert or collapsible steamer basket) with 1 to 2 inches of water, making sure that the bottom of the steamer is not submerged in water. Cover the saucepan and set it on a burner, but do not turn on the heat. Spray the steamer insert with vegetable oil spray and set it aside.

6. Turn the cornmeal into a medium mixing bowl. Turn the pastry flour and baking powder into a small bowl and stir to combine. Combine the milk, butter, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the butter has melted, pour the boiling mixture over the cornmeal and stir with a rubber spatula to moisten. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.

7. While the collards cook, turn the burner under the saucepan to high and bring the water to a boil. Gently fold the pastry-flour mixture into the cornmeal mush with a rubber spatula. Do not overwork. With moistened hands, lightly shape the dough into golf ballsized dumplings, rolling the dough between your palms, and place them one by one in the steamer basket. You should have 12 dumplings. Uncover the saucepan and lower the steamer insert over the boiling water. Immediately replace the lid and lower the heat to medium-high. Steam the dumplings, without peeking, for 15 minutes. When you uncover the saucepan, the dumplings should be puffy, slightly shiny, and firm to the touch. They may also be stuck together, too, separate easily to serve.

8. To serve: Spoon the collard greens and a generous amount of their potlikker into 6 shallow bowls. Place 2 dumplings in each bowl. Pass the Tabasco at the table. This is a superb side dish with pork chops or roast chicken, or simply attended by a pot of beans.

Collard Greens & Cornmeal Dumplings Recipe (2024)


What does adding vinegar to collard greens do? ›

This might seem like an unusual addition if you're new to making collard greens, but the vinegar adds a welcome tangy note that brightens the dish and balances out the salty, savory flavors. A tablespoon of sugar also helps balance out the greens' potential bitterness.

What do you soak collard greens in before cooking? ›

I let mine soak in water and vinegar. First I cut the stem, roll them up, and then cut them in the ribbons. I then wash them in salt water, rinse again, and continue until you get clear water.

What is cornmeal dumplings made of? ›

In a mixing bowl place the cornmeal, flour, grated carrot and salt. Mix these ingredients until blended together. Make a well in the cornmeal mixture and add water, knead until the dough is firm to the touch. Cover the bowl with a cloth or tea towel and set aside.

Should I add baking soda to my collard greens? ›

Baking soda is a lesser-known but effective flavor enhancer for collard greens that you can utilize in addition to various other longstanding tips. A low and slow cooking method (either in a slow cooker or on the stove) is even more vital to collard greens' texture and flavor.

What takes the bitterness out of collard greens? ›

The foods that help reduce bitterness are: Salt while cooking and/or while eating (like on bitter salad greens) Sweet or Spicy. Sour or Acids like lemon or vinegar.

Which vinegar is best for collard greens? ›

Apple cider vinegar: Collards can be notoriously bitter. The vinegar balances the flavor and removes the bitterness. Stone House Seasoning: My favorite house blend seasoning of garlic, salt, and pepper. Sugar: A little bit helps remove any bitterness from the collard greens while giving a slightly sweet flavor.

What is the best meat for collard greens? ›

Fully-Cooked Smoked Turkey Leg- This is the best alternative for those who prefer not to use pork. The smoked turkey leg will add flavor and smokiness to the greens. If you prefer pork, use ham hocks or thick-cut cooked bacon. Chicken Broth- Chicken broth creates a richer, more flavorful broth.

Can you put too much water in collard greens? ›

Make sure you let the water drain out of you collard greens as much as possible. Too much water in your pot will ruin your greens.

Do you use the stems of collard greens? ›

Why: Most collard recipes call to discard the stems because they're so fibrous, but if you chop them small, they will cook just like the leafy greens. The finished dish is just as delicious and a lot thriftier than traditional collard greens, and the pleasantly-supple stems give these greens a distinctive bite.

How long to boil cornmeal dumpling? ›

In Jamaica, dumplings (spinners) are traditionally boiled, not steamed, like on the other islands. To boil, add the dumplings to 8 cups of salted, boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Separate the dumplings if they begin sticking together or to the pot. Skip the steaming if you're using the dumplings in a soup or stew.

What are the 3 components of dumplings? ›

What are dumplings made of? The dumpling dough is made of three main ingredients: flour, water and salt.

What is hidden in dumplings? ›

Some families hide a coin inside one or more of the jiaozi, so someone may bite into something hard and discover a gold or silver coin inside their dumpling. Whoever finds the dumpling with the coin has good luck and will be lucky in the upcoming year.

What can I add to greens to make it taste better? ›

15 Ways to Make Super Greens Powder Taste Better
  1. Try Different Greens Powder Bases. Super greens powders dissolve and mix well with juice, tea, smoothies, almond milk, and more. ...
  2. Mix with Soup. ...
  3. Add to Hummus or Pesto. ...
  4. Blend in a Smoothie. ...
  5. Mix in Oatmeal. ...
  6. Combine with Breakfast. ...
  7. Bake a Treat. ...
  8. Use Natural Sweeteners.
Jun 7, 2022

Why does collard greens take so long to cook? ›

Long cooking time.

Slowly cooking collard greens not only softens the tough leaves, it also tames the leaves' bitter flavor.

When should I add vinegar to my collard greens? ›

Cook for 30 to 45 minutes, then remove the lid, increase the heat to high, and add the vinegar and a teaspoon of hot sauce. Adjust the seasoning, if needed, then put it into a serving bowl.

Why do you soak greens in vinegar? ›

However, if you're looking for a green and cost-effective way to clean up that produce, our favorite way is to washing vegetables wiith vinegar and water. Research suggests that this simple trick can remove pesticides and kill up to 98% of bacteria.

Does vinegar take the bitterness out of greens? ›

Acids, like vinegar and citrus juice, help to brighten up bitter greens and provide a light contrasting flavor.


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