White Beans with Bacon, Turnip Greens

As threatened, I got out there and thinned the rutabagas. The result was enough “turnip” greens to make 2 packets of frozen greens and a dish to be eaten at once. This was the dish. Turnip – rutabaga – greens are astringent enough that I think them best with something to balance them out; both the mild and creamy beans and the rich and smoky bacon being classic choices for doing that.

I did not add the vinegar; I enjoyed the rather sweet and mellow vibe of the stew without it, but if you feel the flavours are a bit flat otherwise, put it in. Likewise, I considered putting in some hot chile flakes but that was really not my prevailing mood. You could add a few, or do as I did and simply pass some hot sauce so that it can be spiced to taste at the table.

This is a fairly substantial dish, and we ate it by itself – some bread and butter would be good with it, or toast. Hot stews don’t seem very summery, but this was one that goes together quickly enough that the kitchen shouldn’t be too over-heated. Of course, I cooked the beans in the Instant Pot which helps keep it down. A tin would be about the right amount of beans and would achieve the same results with even less effort.

2 servings
30 minutes, not including cooking the beans

2 cups cooked white beans
extra bean cooking liquid, ham broth, or chicken broth
225 grams (1/2 pound) bacon
1 medium onion, with its greens if possible
300 grams (10 ounces) turnip OR rutabaga greens
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika
2 teaspoons vinegar (optional)

The beans should have their cooking liquid; otherwise you may need to supplement it with some ham or chicken broth.

Cut the bacon into pieces a little narrower than they are high, and put them in a large, heavy bottomed pot or skillet. Don’t start cooking them, though, until the vegetables are more or less ready to go.

Trim and peel the onion, and chop it. Chop the green onion top too, if it is there and in good condition, but set the green tops aside separately.

Wash the turnip greens well in cold salted water; it they can soak a bit so much the better. Then strip the leaves from the stems, discarding the stems and any badly damaged or yellowed leaves. Chop the remaining leaves coarsely.

Begin cooking the bacon over medium heat. Once it is about half-cooked, assess the amount of fat being rendered and drain off some if it looks like there is too much. A certain amount is good though, to cook and flavour the remaining ingredients.

Add the onion and cook with the bacon until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped green onion tops and seasonings – the amount of salt to depend very much on how much is in the bacon, and perhaps also the beans and broth (if being used). Once they are well combined, add the beans with the cooking liquid. Simmer for a few minutes until hot through, and add a little more broth if required to give the mixture a stewy but not too liquid texture.

Add the drained chopped greens, mixing them in until well wilted down. Continue simmering the mixture until the greens are done to your liking; likely somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. Again, a little more stock may be added if needed.

This is a rather sweet and mellow dish; you could sharpen it up with a dash of vinegar if you like. Once it goes in, let the strong scent of vinegar cook off before you serve it.

Last year at this time I made Herby Feta, Quinoa, & Snow Pea Salad.

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