This week, I found some local turnip greens at a produce market—they were grown right in town. They were fresh-looking and tender, and I got over the fact that I have never cooked turnip greens before. I packed some in a bag and brought them home. For this recipe, make sure none of the stems are thicker than one-quarter inch, and choose the freshest greens you can find. Clean them carefully, as dirt can hide in the leaves.
I came across a recipe in How to Cook Everything that combines dried white beans, soaked overnight, and greens. The bulk of the cooking time went to the dried beans, but cooking them slowly with some onion gave them delicious flavor. Because my turnip greens were so tender, they only took ten minutes to soften. When I tasted it, though, I felt like it needed some zip. I squeezed some lemon juice into the pot, which added some much-needed brightness.
You can turn this into a soup by adding lots of water (and some vegetable broth, if you like) to the beans, or make it thicker by adding less water. Try any kinds of greens you find–mustard or turnip greens, kale, collards, spinach, watercress, etc. Beans and greens are a healthful, vegetarian, and cheap one-pot meal. The whole pot cost me about two bucks. What could be better?
Beans and Greens
Adapted from How to Cook Everything
½ pound white beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1-2 bunches greens, well-washed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lemon
In a large pot, cover the beans with water and bring to a boil. Add the onion and bay leaf; reduce the heat to a simmer. Tilt the lid and stir from time to time. After 30 minutes, test the beans; it may take up to an hour for them to become tender. Add water if needed, and taste for seasoning.
Add the greens and cook until tender; depending on the stems’ thickness, it could take from 10-30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and remove onion. Before serving, add garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Serve hot.