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Beans, greens a tasty pairing of 2 staples

  • TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

    One pot beans and greens.

Beans and greens are a staple dish served in many cultures around the world.

But the best way to cook beans and greens is a hotly debated topic: Which greens? What beans? Add meat to the pot for flavoring, or skip it altogether? And how long do they need to cook?

This version opts for canned beans. The shorter cooking time gives the greens (we chose collards, but we’re flexible on this point) a chance to become tender but thankfully not mushy. We like meat for flavoring, but instead of smoked ham hocks, we used lean Canadian bacon.

Best of all, this healthy dish is ready in about 30 minutes.

Preparation tip: When preparing collard greens, strip the leaves from the stem and discard the stem. Coarsely chop the leaves. If desired, substitute chopped kale, spinach or other favorite greens.

ONE-POT BEANS AND GREENS

By Jill Wendholt Silva

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 slices Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups unsalted or reduced-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped, lightly packed collard greens (about 3 ounces chopped, see tip)
  • 2 (15.8-ounce) cans reduced-sodium Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 slices whole-wheat bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Spray a Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray. Add Canadian bacon and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until bacon is lightly browned and edges begin to crisp. Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the Dutch oven. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add stock, thyme, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Heat until boiling.

Stir in collard greens. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in beans and Canadian bacon and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place bread cubes in a zip-top food bag. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Seal and toss to coat the bread evenly. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake uncovered 5 minutes. Stir then bake additional 5 minutes or until edges begin to brown and cubes are crisp. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake 1 to 2 minutes or until Parmesan is melted.

Remove bay leaf from beans and discard. Ladle beans and greens into bowls.

Top each serving with crisp bread cubes. Serves 6.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 325 calories, 8 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 44 g carbohydrates, 23 g protein, 418 mg sodium.

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