There are two stars in this simple dish…home made vegetable stock and Rio Zape Beans from Rancho Gordo.
I have started using Silvi’s system for making experimental economical vegetable stock. It is amazing how much excellent soup stock you can get out of a week of vegetable scraps! Of course, I am not a vegetarian so an occasional meat bone finds its way int o my stock as well, but the following dish was made from a stock that contained fennel greens, brocoli rabe stems, yam peels, celery, carrots, scallions, garlic and a couple of prunes. Side note, I highly recommend throwing a few prunes into your vegetable stock. It makes the stock taste AMAZING. Silvi’s secret stock weapon is a bit of miso. I am sure that it would be excellent with any homemade vegetable stock…or home-made chicken stock for that matter.
Rio Zape beans are an exceptionally delicious heirloom bean that are a bit like a pinto but sooooooooo much better. I am looking forward to trying this same recipe with some of the other amazing bean varieties from whats left of the Rancho Gordo bean sampler that I bought myself for Christmas. This is a note added later- I made this with Brown Tepary Beans from Rancho Gordo and it was great. Tepary Beans are small but tough skinned so you have to soak them overnight.
Just don’t be afraid to season this dish! The salt brings out the peanut-like flavour of the beans a teaspoon of sugar or a bit of dark chocolate will balance the bitter of the greens. It should taste like comforting soul food with a hint of spice. We have been eating it with Huevos Rancheros for breakfast and with gluten-free skillet cornbread for lunch.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium-sized onion chopped
- About 4 cups experimental economical vegetable stock, home-made chicken stock or water
- About a cup of dry Rio Zape beans (soaked for a few hours. If you are using supermarket pintos soak ’em overnight)
- 1 whole fresh jalapeno pepper
- a few cloves of garlic unpeeled (the amount depends on your taste and whether or not your stock had garlic in it already)
- 1 bunch of collard greens
- salt and sugar to taste (more recently I have used a tablespoon of grated dark chocolate instead of sugar…very good)
- a bit of ground cumin (optional)
- In a large, lidded, heavy bottomed pot saute the onion in olive oil until it begins to turn golden and brown on the edges.
- Add the stock and beans to the onions and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a fierce simmer , partially cover the pot and cook the beans until tender .
- While the beans get started roast the whole jalapeno and the unpeeled garlic on a dry hot skillet until dark specks appear on the skin. You can also do this in the broiler, but keep an eye on ’em. Throw the whole roasted jalapeno in to the bean pot. Slip the roasted garlic out of their skins and add them to the pot too.
- While all of that simmers, wash and trim your collard greens. I cut the thick stems out and discard them (or save them for the next batch of stock). Chop the collards up to a size that you like.
- When the beans are tender but not mushy, throw the collards in with a bit of salt (quite a bit if your stock was not already salted). Cover the pot totally and allow the collards to wilt. The cooking time will depend on how soft you like your greens and also on whether you are dealing with young spring collards or tough winter collards. These collards were tender so I cooked them just until they turned this nice shade of dark bright green.
- Before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and a bit of sugar.