My friend Kristine shared the skeleton of this recipe with me when we were discussing how to use up leafy vegetables (for example, chard or collard greens) from our Farm Fresh to You boxes. Over the last couple of years I’ve tried many different combinations of vegetables, beans, etc (which is why I call it “Kitchen-sink” – you can add whatever you’ve got lying around that you want/need to use), and it generally turns out great.
- several slices of bacon, diced, or some pancetta [I usually just use bacon because I have that on hand, but the first time I did it, I bought a container of diced pancetta from Trader Joe’s and used the whole thing]
- 1 white or yellow onion, diced [you could probably use shallots instead]
- pepper flakes [red pepper, Aleppo, whatever floats your boat]
- 2 small cans or 1 big can of diced tomatoes [can be fire roasted or plain, doesn’t matter. I think Muir Glen tomatoes are the best]
- 1 bunch of leafy vegetables, chopped or torn [I’ve used chard, collard greens, kale, etc – whatever I need to use up from the farm box]
- [optionally, you can also add sliced carrots, quartered potatoes, celery – really any other vegetables you need to use up, or leave these out and just keep it simple]
- [another thing you can add is the rind of Parmesan or other hard cheese that you’ve saved for this purpose]
- 2-3 cups or 1-2 cans of chicken broth [I use concentrated chicken or beef broth mixed with water, so I measure in cups, but probably 1-2 cans of broth will work too. Use however much liquid you prefer]
- 1 can of white beans [I’ve also used red beans, kidney beans, and even a can of hominy. They all have worked out well. You could probably also use pre-cooked pasta, but that would result in less protein]
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large high-sided pot, fry the bacon pieces over medium heat until they’re reasonably crispy.
- Add diced onion to the bacon and grease. Cook it however long you like; the original instructions were “until it sweats”, but I prefer them a bit more cooked.
- When it reaches the point you want, add the pepper flakes and then the chopped leafy vegetables.
- Stir everything around so it cooks evenly, when the leafy greens turn bright green or start to wilt, add the harder vegetables (carrots or potatoes) and the broth. If using, also add the cheese rind.
- Cover and allow to come to a gentle boil for about 5 minutes.
- Add the can of beans and allow to cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, just to bring everything to the same temperature.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately, and/or save leftovers for lunches. Can also be garnished with some grated Parmesan cheese or similar.
–Idea for this recipe courtesy Kristine Lauria.
The bacon and onions cooking: