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Author Notes: I feel a little silly posting this as a recipe-it's more of a template, really, for a kind of stewy dish that I make quite frequently in the cold months. I've found that this combination of pinto beans with turnip greens, particularly with a sweet pepper in the mix, is a particularly nice one, but you could take this in a lot of different directions. I imagine collard greens would be a good substitute for turnip greens, and I know there're myriad bean varieties that could pinch hit for the pintos. That said, pintos+turnip greens(+sweet pepper) makes for a stew with a subtle sweet and smoky flavor that threw me for a loop the first time I tried it. It may be cheap, it may be simple, it may look like glop (delicious glop!), but this dish really is more than the sum of its parts. Fair warning: the recipe makes a lot, so invite your friends! Also, it makes great leftovers-I'd say it's even better on the second day. —summersavory
Makes a big potful of stew
- 1 cup dried, uncooked pinto beans
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, or to taste, minced
- 12 sprigs fresh parsley, or to taste, chopped
- 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, with juice, chopped or smushed (or, in season, 3 or 4 large tomatoes, chopped)
- 1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 bunches turnip greens, coarsely chopped or torn
- salt and pepper, to taste
- juice of half a lemon
- Start by cooking the pinto beans according to package directions: soak them overnight, or boil and do a quick 1-hour soak, and then simmer them in fresh water until they're almost cooked. You can buy canned beans and skip this step, but if you have time, I tend to prefer dried to canned. If using canned, just rinse the beans before you add them (later on); if you cook dried beans, once they're at the almost-cooked stage, drain them to stop them from getting mushy while you cook the veggies, but save the cooking liquid.
- Take out a big soup pot and heat the olive oil in it. When it's hot, add the onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes; when the onion gets soft, add the parsley and stir. Then, dump in the carrots, sweet pepper, and tomatoes. Break the bay leaves in half and throw them in, too. Watch until the tomato juice heats up and starts to bubble, and then let it all cook for 3 or 4 more minutes to start the carrots softening.
- To the tomato-y base, add bean cooking liquid (or a cup or two of water or stock, if you used canned beans) and let it all come back to a boil. Then, with the heat up high, add the turnip greens by the handful, stirring them in and waiting for each handful to begin to collapse before adding the next. It may take a while to incorporate all the greens, and you may need to add more liquid to the pot to make sure they're all covered; go ahead and add what you need. Once they're all in, stir in the cooked pinto beans, bring the whole pot back to a boil, and then turn the heat down to a simmer level. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust the seasoning to your liking. I find the amount of salt I add often depends on the brand of canned tomatoes I use, but it's a safe bet that you'll need to add *some* salt. Stir in the lemon juice now, too.
- Simmer the stew, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the liquid is as reduced as you like. Serve hot, maybe with a poached egg on top or some toast on the side. I find that the leftovers, reheated or just eaten cold, get better and better throughout the week, too.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cheap Feast
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