Kevin Mitchell's spicy collards with red peppers: A fresh take on a holiday tradition

Kevin Mitchell
Blue Stem Collard was the first variety for which a commercial seed demand developed after the Civil War. One of the “old standby” collards like the white and yellow cabbage collard known for flavor and reliability in the field. (Courtesy of South Carolina University Press)

About the recipes

Chef Kevin Mitchell included this recipe in his 2021 book “Taste the State,” written with historian David Shields. The book is a guide to ingredients and recipes that form South Carolina’s unique flavors:

I developed this recipe when I was tasked to create two New Year’s dishes for Charleston Magazine. I wanted to celebrate dishes African Americans traditionally eat for the New Year, collard greens and Hoppin’ John. For the greens I did not move too far away from traditional recipes, however, I added red pepper to brighten up the dish and omitted the vinegar that is used in some recipes.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 ounces thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon, diced 

3 cups chopped yellow onions

2 tablespoons minced shallot

4 ounces bourbon

1 cup diced red bell peppers

1-pound collard greens, stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch pieces

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 pinches red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and black pepper


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently until tender, about five minutes.

Add the shallots and cook until just fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the bourbon and allow alcohol to cook out, about two minutes.

Add the red bell pepper and cook for one minute. Stir in the collard greens and cook until they start to wilt. Add the stock and red pepper flakes.

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until greens are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

More recipes from Kevin Mitchell

Excerpted with permission from Taste the State: South Carolina's Signature Foods, Recipes, and Their Stories by Kevin Mitchell and David S. Shields, published by the University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, South Carolina, © 2021.