This potlikker gumbo is a savory soup with such a rich flavor thanks to the collards and three types of pork! It’s also full of nutrition thanks (again) to the collards and chicken stock. So perfect topped with tender cornbread!
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A few weeks ago some of my friends and I were able to get out and hike together– with no kids! It was really such a treat for everyone since usually between us we would have twenty-five kids hiking with us.
We were celebrating two birthdays in the group, so after the hike we went to lunch at a nearby restaurant. (If you’re ever near Valle Crucis/Boone, Over Yonder restaurant is amazing).
Of course, being the food blogger and stereotypical foodie that I am, I was eager to try multiple dishes. I usually joke about writing off the expense as a work need, but that isn’t really too far from the truth. I love being inspired by new dishes and bringing that inspiration here in the form of new recipes.
One recipe that immediately stood out to me was the Potlikker Gumbo. You had me at collard greens.
The soup was delicious and my mind immediately started turning over how I could make a simplified version at home that didn’t sacrifice any of the flavor.
I already knew how easy and tasty it is to make collards in the Instant Pot, so creating a “gumbo” type dish that featured the greens and their flavorful broth (pot likker) wasn’t too difficult.
Potlikker Gumbo in the Instant Pot
If you have not tried collard greens before, or if you’ve had a bad experience in the past, I definitely urge you to try again! These greens are FULL of flavor and nutrition, are inexpensive, and are increasingly easier to find.
…They’re extremely low in calories (35 calories in half a cup of cooked greens) and are rich in folate, calcium, dietary fiber, and vitamins E, A, K, and C. Thanks to their many nutrients, collard greens have been associated with cancer prevention, detox support, anti-inflammatory properties, heart health, and digestive support. (source)
Pair them with stock for even more nutrition and pork to help create the perfect, rich balance of savory and salty, and you’re good to go.
One way that I did stray from the typical gumbo (though not the typical potlikker combo) was substituting the more common rice for generous squares of cornbread. In our home, cornbread is always served with collards, and very often with stews and soups too.
<Try my Skillet Cornbread recipe. It’s gluten-free and can be finished in the time the gumbo cooks.>
Topping the potlikker gumbo with cornbread does a few things. First, it begins to soak up some of the potlikker, which is the end goal anyway. The slightly sweet cornbread also balances out the savory/salty gumbo. And then finally, serving anything with bread/croutons/rolls is almost* guaranteed to make it more kid-friendly.
(#almost. Our kids actually really enjoy collards and each time I’ve served this dish, everyone except the toddlers have gone back for seconds. My four-year-old was fine to eat the cornbread, carrots, and pork. I expect him to eat the rest as he gets older. I don’t stress it in the meantime.)
Savory soup with such a rich flavor thanks to the collards and three types of pork! It’s also full of nutrition thanks (again) to the collards and chicken stock. So perfect topped with tender cornbread!
- 1 tbsp bacon grease (or oil/ghee)
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1/2 cup chopped pancetta (4oz)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 8 medium collard leaves, tobacco rolled and chopped
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup arrowroot or cornstarch
- 1 pan of cornbread
- Turn Instant Pot on to Sauté. While the pot heats, chop the onions. Once the Instant Pot is preheated (the screen will say HOT), add the bacon grease and the onions. Sauté for 3 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Stir in the garlic and the pancetta and sauté for about 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant. Add the ground pork and sauté for about 5 minutes, while you prepare the carrots and the collards.
TO PREPARE THE COLLARDS: Rinse the leaves, cut out the hard stem, stack the leaves, then roll them up and slice them both ways.
- After the ground pork is mostly browned, add the carrots, chopped collards, stock, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn the valve to sealing, and set the cook time to 10 minutes on high pressure.
- While the soup cooks, make your cornbread. (This recipe is delicious, gluten-free, and easy!)
- When the cook time is complete, quick release the pressure. (There’s no rush here, though. You could also let it naturally release or let it sit a bit until you’re ready). Measure out the arrowroot or cornstarch into a glass measuring cup, then ladle out about a cup of the hot broth from the soup and whisk it together with the arrowroot/cornstarch. When the mixture is smooth, return it to the pot and stir until completely incorporated. Turn the Instant Pot back on to Sauté and simmer until the broth is slightly thickened and silky.
- Portion the soup into bowls, and place a square of cornbread on top.
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