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These Southern Noodles Are the Ultimate Comfort Food

02/11/2015 03:17 pm ET | Updated Apr 13, 2015

By Gabriella Vigoreaux, Epicurious

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Photo by Ditte Isager

Not familiar with potlikker? Well, we're a bit obsessed with the smoky liquid that's left behind after boiling greens. Don't you dare throw it away because, as every true Southerner knows, the stuff is liquid gold. Here, it gets repurposed into a noodle dish that's chock full of ham and greens and is the perfect dish for a brisk winter day. It's also a great way to use leftover ham hock.

Nothing is as comforting as a plate of hot collard greens, crowned in potlikker and studded with salty bits of ham. In this dish you are making the potlikker from scratch. It starts with browning the ham hock. Then come the aromatics, vinegar, hot sauce, broth, and greens. You can use your favorite greens if you don't like mustard greens. The result is an extremely flavorful liquid that will become the base for your noodle dish.

Next you cook bacon in a skillet and add some of that delicious ham hock meat. The greens from earlier, as well as the potlikker, go into the pan to make the sauce. At this point, make sure you really scrape the skillet. You want all those tasty browned bits to flavor your potlikker broth. Finally, the egg noodles get added to the skillet and the whole things gets topped with some Pecorino cheese. Have you ever seen such a perfect dish in your life?