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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mixed Shell Beans and Greens

This recipe is adapted from a quick recipe that uses canned black-eyed peas and collard greens. I am more likely to have chard in my garden so that is what I use. If you want to cook this recipe but can't follow my directions (don't have fresh shell beans or want a quick version) see the link below.

Several years ago I began to grow black-eyed peas in my garden to add nitrogen to the soil which helped increase the size of garlic planted successively. An added benefit is the lovely "peas" I harvest each year. The legumes were something my eastern-raised mother never served me in our western home. I discovered this southern food much later when I moved to Virginia. In the years since I have experimented with other drying beans as well: pink and maroon Hopi beans, purple striped dragon tongue beans, and this year a purple and white Kenyan heirloom bean called kebarika.

Since I grow these, I like to use them in their "shell" state when they are mature but not dry. Although the original recipe calls for black-eyed peas exclusively, I have used a variety and it looks quite pretty with the variations in sizes and colors.

Hopi beans, Dragon Tongue beans, Black-eyed Peas


Mixed Shell Beans and Greens

Adapted from:

6 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, halved and sliced thinly
1 teas salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teas ground cumin
1/2 teas pepper
1/4 teas red pepper flakes
1 c canned diced tomatoes or 2 c chopped garden tomatoes
1 1/2 c chicken broth (low sodium)
3 cups fresh black-eyed peas, subbing some with other shell beans
10 large leaves Swiss chard, torn or coarsely chopped
1 T cider vinegar
1 teas sugar

Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 5-7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate or to a bowl, if the extra bacon fat doesn't worry you. Set aside.

Discard all but 2 T bacon fat. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring often, until golden brown. Add garlic, cumin, pepper, and pepper flakes, and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Add tomatoes and juices and cook for several minutes until the tomatoes break down and mixture becomes sauce like. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add beans and reduce heat to simmer for approximately 45 minutes until they have become tender. Add chard and cook for about 5 minutes until wilted. (If you use other greens such as kale or collards, you'll have to cook them longer.) Stir in bacon, sugar, and vinegar, taste for seasonings, and serve.

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