21 October 2012

recipe: Greek greens and beans

Brunch is a magical time when both savory and sweet foods are acceptable.  It's also a great excuse to have second breakfast.  I asked Matt which he'd like - savory or sweet - and he couldn't decide, so I made pancakes AND this yummy Greek thing.

It's been 6 years since I've been to Athens, but I remember the food with crystal clarity.  It was incredible.  There were zero bad restaurants.  I don't know how that's possible, but Greece is Greece.  When life hands you a lemon, you make a freaking incredible dinner that will blow tourists' socks off and haunt them for years as they constantly search for another meal as perfect but never quite find it.  (Wow, depressing.  HAHA YAY FOOD)  One of the dishes I got there was made with butter beans and this magic sauce with flavors of lemon and dill that really popped - and here is my best effort at recreating it.


Greek Greens and Beans
GF - 25 minutes - serves 4 as side

Olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1t oregano
1t thyme
1t dill
1/2t paprika
1/2t coriander
1/2t salt
Few dashes freshly-ground black pepper
1/2c white wine
1c water or veggie broth
1lb collards or other greens, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained
Juice of 2 lemons

Throw a little oil in a large skillet or wok and put it on medium heat.  Toss in your onion and sautee until translucent (right), about 5 minutes.  Chop your collards while you're waiting!  Add the garlic to the onion and sautee for another minute.  Then go on a mad dash to dump in all the spices along with the salt and pepper at the same time.  Or, if you measure things, put everybody in a little dish ahead of time so you can just slip the spices in all together.

I love this part: pour in the wine.  Watch it bubble.  Turn your heat up and let it reduce for 3 minutes, then add your water or broth.

Once everybody's boiling, you can start putting your collards in the wok.  If they all fit at the same time, great!  If not, stick them in by the handful and wait for them to wilt a little before adding more.  Stir them up so the onions, garlic, and spices are distributed relatively evenly (left).  Then you just need to let them steam for 5 minutes, tops.  They should be limp and dark (below), but not brownish.  Brownish means you've gone too far and you need to turn the heat off like 60 seconds ago.

If you're using a different sort of greens, follow the same rules but watch the cooking time.  Collards take a little longer than most others, so make sure you don't overcook.

Lower the heat and mix in the beans and lemon juice.  Give that 3 minutes to let the flavors disperse, then turn off your stove and serve immediately.  Or, serve immediately after you drain the liquid out, which is an unnecessary step but makes your dish look a little nicer.

If you want to make this a main course, just whip up a grain to go with it and add it at the end with the beans and lemon juice.  Brown rice, quinoa, or polenta would be delish.  Alternately, serve alongside a grain and you have yourself a meal.

Or with a pancake.  That's a grain.  It's totally a grain.  Like, with Earth Balance and stuff.  Sure.

I used whole wheat pastry flour, okay?!  And didn't cross the streams.*


* A colloquialism for not putting the two foods on one plate at the same time.  A colloquialism that I made up.  So... not really a colloquialism.

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