Beans and Greens
Since its hit 90F in Phoenix today, it seems a bit late to share a recipe for a big pot of beans in the crock pot, but since I was in Toronto last week I know that some places its still very cold (it was never above freezing for the 2 days I was there… but everyone was happy because it wasn’t snowing and the sun actually came out). And I really did make these a couple of weeks ago. The beans and greens below is a great meal for a cold day, but just in case we don’t have any more cool weather, beans and greens also make a great side dish: sauté a bit of onion, garlic and/or bacon in a pan, add a can of white beans (drained and rinsed), add a bit of water or broth and heat, then add a bag or bunch of greens… spinach, mustard greens, whatever and cook until wilted. This is a great side disk with a piece of grilled meat… dinner in 15 minutes. My last night in Toronto, dinner (at the airport Hilton, since I had a very early flight back home) was beans and greens, with roasted tomatoes stuffed with couscous… pretty good for traveling food, although I could have done without the squeeze bottle decoration of white who knows what cream something on it.
The Gadget: Crock Pot. I have the crock pot we got as a wedding gift. Which is starting to get scary, mostly because I remember appliances that my mom had (when I was a kid) from when she got married, and how ancient they seemed. So my crock pot is > 20 years old, even more ancient in relative terms, but it still works great, mostly I only use for cooking beans in the winter. If you want to cook more stuff (like whole chickens) I would recommend a 6-quart model.
The ingredient: Christmas
Beans and Greens
This is traditionally done with Navy Beans.. but really any kind of beans works. It makes a lot, but it freezes well (just put single servings in 1 quart freezer baggies).
1 lb dry beans
1 smoked ham hock
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced (optional)
1 bag baby spinach (optional if you just want a more traditional beans)
Rinse the beans, put in the crock pot and cover with water by a couple of inches, and let soak overnight. Drain the beans, put in the ham hock, onion, carrot along with beans back in the pot. At about 7 cups of water (should cover beans by an inch or two, but make sure there is about 1 inch of clearance in the pot). Start on high for about an hour (or until you leave for work), then cook all day on low. Later in the day (when you are home from work), check the beans… if they are not done, put back on high. About 30 minutes or so before you are ready to eat, pull out the ham hock. Let cool a bit, then pull the meat off the bone, pull off any skin or fat. Put the ham and the greens back in the crock pot (turn on high if its not already). Cook for about 10 minutes and greens are wilted. Taste, add a bit of salt if needed. Also acceptable (especially if you skip the greens) is to serve with catsup.