How To Cook Turkey Necks For Greens

How to Cook Turkey Necks for Greens: Flavorful Tradition

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Shari Mason

The pleasant fragrance of turkey necks and greens cooking together brings back cherished memories of my grandma’s kitchen, where the air was always filled with the delicious smell of gently simmering food.

Those tender turkey necks added a depth of flavor that turned simple greens into a soul-satisfying dish.

If you’re ready to recreate that comforting experience, I’ll guide you through cooking turkey necks for greens, step by step. Get ready for a delicious journey.

Steps On How To Cook Turkey Necks For Greens

Southern Collard Greens With Smoked Turkey
  1. Clean the Turkey Necks: Start by thoroughly rinsing the turkey necks under cold water to remove any residue, blood, or small feathers.
  2. Preparation: Place the cleaned turkey necks in a large pot and cover them with enough water or broth [1].
  3. Boil: Bring the water or broth to a boil, then reduce the heat, allowing the turkey necks to simmer. Cook them for about 30 minutes, which allows the meat to release its flavor.
  4. Season: While the turkey necks are simmering, add your desired seasonings, such as salt, pepper, garlic, onion, or other favorites.
  5. Add Greens: Wash your choice of greens (collard, turnip, mustard, etc.) thoroughly. Remove any tough stems and roughly chop the leaves. Add the greens to the pot once the turkey necks have simmered for 30 minutes.
  6. Simmer: Cook the mixture on a low simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the greens are soft and fully cooked and the turkey necks are tender.
  7. Taste and Adjust: Periodically taste the broth and adjust seasonings if needed. The flavor should be a delightful mix of the turkey neck’s richness and the natural taste of the greens.
  8. Serve: Once everything is perfectly cooked, transfer to a serving bowl. Enjoy your flavorful greens with pieces of tender turkey necks.


Why Use Turkey Necks For Greens?

Turkey necks are a culinary secret weapon when it comes to cooking greens. Their rich, meaty flavor complements and deepens the natural taste of greens such as collard, turnip, or mustard. 

“What a marvelous resource soup is for the thrifty cook – it solves the ham-bone and lamb-bone problems, the everlasting Thanksgiving turkey, the extra vegetables.”

– Julia Child, Chef

When simmered together, the turkey necks infuse the greens with a savory broth, elevating a simple vegetable dish to a hearty, soulful meal.

The bones and meat of the necks release nutrients and gelatin into the dish, adding taste and texture. 

Using turkey necks for greens bridges the gap between the earthy freshness of vegetables and the robust depth of well-cooked meat, creating a harmonious and satisfying dish.

Do I Cook The Turkey Necks Before Adding The Greens?

Cooking Southern Collard Greens With Smoked Turkey

Yes, it’s advisable to start cooking the turkey necks before introducing the greens. By doing so, the turkey necks release their rich flavors into the water or broth, creating a savory base for the greens. 

This pre-cooking phase ensures that the necks are well on their way to tenderness when the greens are added. 

“In the symphony of flavors, turkey necks play the deep notes, elevating humble greens to a gourmet encore.”

– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice

Additionally, it allows the greens to cook in a flavorful broth, enhancing their taste and ensuring that the meat and the vegetables are perfectly tender and infused with flavor by the time the dish is complete. 

This step-by-step process guarantees a harmonious blend of meaty richness with the fresh vibrancy of the greens.

Can I Add Other Seasonings?

Absolutely! While turkey necks impart a delightful, meaty flavor, adding other seasonings can further enhance and personalize the dish. 

Common additions include salt and pepper for basic seasoning, but you can also introduce garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, or bay leaves for added depth and complexity. 

Some cooks might even add a splash of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice [2] towards the end of cooking to give the greens a subtle tang. 

Experimenting with seasonings allows you to tailor the dish to your preferences, creating a rich and flavorful broth that perfectly complements the greens and turkey necks.

The key is to taste as you go, ensuring a balanced and delicious result.


u003cstrongu003eAre turkey necks healthy to eat?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, turkey necks are a good source of protein and essential minerals; however, they can be fatty. Consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet, they can be a healthy choice.

u003cstrongu003eHow do you know when boiled turkey is done?u003c/strongu003e

When boiled turkey is done, the meat becomes tender, quickly pulls away from the bone, and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) when checked with a meat thermometer.

Key Takeaways

In wrapping up, turkey necks offer an unmatched depth of flavor when paired with greens. This classic combination transforms ordinary greens into a rich and soulful dish. 

You achieve a harmonious blend of earthiness and savory goodness by simmering the turkey necks, allowing their meaty essence to infuse the broth, and introducing the greens to this flavorful base. 

With the addition of personal seasonings and careful attention to the cooking process, the result is a delectable dish that is a testament to culinary tradition and innovation.

The world of comfort foods, turkey necks, and greens holds a special place at the table.


Shari Mason

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *