I didn't expect much from these beans. I wanted to have a vegan entree with some protein in it, in case a vegetarian showed up. (There weren't any.) I'd been distinctly under the weather lately and therefore uninspired. I knew I'd done the beans-and-greens thing before - I feel like I've kind of done it to death really - but I just lacked the energy and candlepower to do anything more interesting or creative. I'd had something different in mind - a Rick Bayless recipe, actually - but it looked terribly long and complicated and every time I looked at it I started to cry. So I put it aside for a day when I was feeling less ill and decided to do the old stand-by and make it a little less insipid if I could. My husband had just brought in all of the hot peppers from our garden - this was just this past Sunday - and I decided to chuck in three of the yellow peppers. Ordinarily I wouldn't really add so many peppers but when I'm sick I find spicy food helps. I also had a jar and a half of this salsa verde cooking sauce that I'd picked up for some other recipe. I decided to get rid of it by using it for the beans. A whole head of garlic rounded out the recipe - everyone knows garlic is good for you.
I served it up. It didn't look pretty and I figured it would be a little spicy for the tastes of most of my guests. They sat down. They ate their food. One of them turned to me and said, "This is the best dish I have ever tasted in this house."
That was the general consensus with regards to this bean dish. Everyone liked it. Everyone. Ordinarily I write up recipes in advance and set them up in a queue, so that if a few days go by where life intervenes and I don't get to write it's not the end of the world. I'm interrupting the queue to post this dish, mostly for the benefit of the people who were there that night. It's also for your benefit though. Vegetarian recipes, even vegan recipes, don't have to be a penance. This is tasty. It is easy. I barely thought about it while I was making it. I imagine that it would reheat well if you were to prepare it ahead of time and serve it on a weeknight. If you find it a little spicy for your tastes you can sprinkle some cheese on it, or serve it with some sour cream.
Black Beans with Collard Greens and Salsa Verde (serves 10; approx. $1.22/serving)
2 15-oz cans black beans, with their canning liquid
3 yellow chili peppers, chopped
1 head garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 heads collard greens, stemmed and shredded
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 jars tomatillo cooking salsa (from the international aisle of your supermarket)
2 tablespoons olive oil
- Large saucepan
- Heat the oil in the sauecpan.
- Add the cumin seeds.
- When the seeds begin to splutter, add the chile peppers and the garlic.
- Saute the aromatics until soft. When soft, add the beans with their cooking liquid. Bring to a boil.
- Add the collard greens along with the salsa verde. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cook until the greens are tender and the sauce is very thick and reduced.
- Serve hot.