Turnips with Pot-Likker

Simple pleasures

...can mean many things but to me, a good bowl of seasoned turnips and hot cornbread to soak up the 'pot-likker' is one that tops my list.

We southerners are fond of our 'likker' and if made correctly, could drink it from a cup, not to mention that's where most of the vitamins from the greens end up anyway.  I cook my turnips pretty much the same as I do collards. The secret to good greens is the seasoned stock and down here that means some form of smoked meat. I like to use smoked ham hocks, neckbones, hickory smoked sausage links even turkey legs along with bacon of course as this is one dish that requires bacon. Heck, if you're not using bacon, don't bother cooking a mess of greens, well, at least don't call them southern greens and what ever you do, do not use the words 'pot-likker' in the same sentence.

One of my favorite additions to greens is pepper sauce, the almost clear liquid kind made from small green peppers and vinegar. Many fine eating establishments have bottles of this right on the table down here, which is a good thing and one I look for when choosing country-style eateries. I normally save myself the trouble of adding this at the end by going ahead and incorporating into the pot while simmering the stock. Any hot chile will do, jalapeno or Serrano is what I normally throw in.

Now, lets get to cooking:
smoked neckbones

The Stock
6 slices of bacon, chopped
Chicken stock
1 or 2 smoked ham hocks or pork neckbones
1 large onion, chopped
1 or 2 jalapenos, chopped
1 good tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

1 to 2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large stockpot fry bacon until fat is rendered and remove meat. Add to the grease 3 to 4 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the remaining above ingredients. Return to a boil and simmer on medium low for 30 minutes to an hour. Remove hocks to a plate, let cool to the touch and strip away any meat. Add the meat back to the pot and discard the bones.

The Greens
pot-likker & greens
2 or 3 bunches of fresh turnips (or about 2 pounds)
3 to 4 leaves of mustard or kale greens

Clean greens thoroughly to remove grit by washing several times in cold deep water. Drain well. Remove the tougher stalks as needed. Chop greens into 1-inch squares. Add the greens to the pot; bring to a boil and reduce heat to low simmer for 30 minutes. Toss the greens around from time to time. Check seasoning and continue simmering on very low for 1 to 2 hours for tender wilted greens or 3 to 4 hours for good ol' southern style mushy greens.

Note: When fresh greens are not available, the pre-cut greens in the freezer section will do, just choose a brand that you know will not have a lot of stalks in the bag as filler. The tough stems are not worth eating.


  1. Oh, man. Are we sure we're not related? I'm starting to think we're long lost counsins. And this is just another fine example of our wonderful southern cuisine. I have been known to sip a cup of pot-likker myself. Sometimes I even cook corn dodgers in the likker.

  2. Yum I love that the stock has cider vinegar and bacon! I bet it just tastes like heaven, Drick!

  3. I was wondering what to do with the turnips that came in my csa. I bet I could get my hubby to eat his greens with this recipe!

  4. What a fine example of what makes southern cuisine so good. Drick, you could make a "greens" lover out of anyone!!

  5. My husband would love this! I am not a fan of the greens but I think that has to do with what foods you grew up with. Soon to be on our table is your green beans and artichoke dish!

    Good post.

  6. I'm about to receive a batch of greens so I can't wait to give this a try. I wasn't into them at all until I moved to the south, but I love them in any form.

  7. catchy phrase love greens and you sure made them purrrrrrfection!

  8. Well believe it or not, but I've never made this Southern delight! But you have convinced me to give it a try and I know that your recipe has got to be good! Thanks for sharing, cher!

  9. Another recipe that my family will love...I so wish my Dad had a computer...he would so love this. Need to get Adam to do some of these recipes
    with me :) You have all his favorite flavors here.

  10. Wow Drick, this has me drooling..the stock is divine..


  11. Oh yum, I love turnip greens.

  12. I really haven't try turnip greens before. It sounds interesting. It's definitely on my list now :)

  13. I'm an East Tennessean so I was raised on beans greens and cornbread. Mmmm, I'm going to have to pick up some during my lunch today to set ont he stove for dinner.

  14. Mmmm... ! Heart-warming. Reminds me a lot of minestra maritata... meat and greens cooked together for a long time and served as a soup like this.

  15. Ooooh yummy Dirk. Turnips are my favorites... tops, bottoms or together. Great recipe and will be making your version for the holidays!


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