Beans & Greens

If you're looking for a real taste of the South, this is it. I could eat this every week. It's such a filling meal that it doesn't require a main, just a starch. The smoked ham hocks are absolutely essential to the authenticity of this dish, so try to find them; try the less...fancy...supermarkets. As for the greens, you can use collards, mustard greens, or kale. To finish, I like vinegar or a few dashes of hot sauce (Texas Pete or Frank's Red Hot) in my greens. Yields 4 servings (2 if you're southern).

Beans Ingredients:

  • ½ large or 1 smaller yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large smoked ham hock or turkey neck/wing
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1½ pound fresh or frozen crowder peas or black-eyed peas
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
  • Kosher salt

Greens Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large smoked ham hock or turkey neck/wing
  • ¾ - 1 pound kale, any variety
  • 6 cups water, divided (2c + 4c)

Beans Instructions:

  1. Mince the onion, then peel and smash the garlic. Heat a medium pot over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, pepper, and ham hock while the pot is cold.
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic until it browns, about 10 minutes. Leave the hock on each side a while so it renders its fat and caramelizes.
  3. Add the beans, bay leaves, and stock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
  4. Cover and reduce heat to very low. Simmer anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, checking beans for doneness every 5 minutes after 15.
  5. When done, season to taste with salt and top up with more stock if necessary. If desired, shred the meat from the ham hock and stir into the beans.

Greens Instructions:

  1. Large dice the onion. Stem the kale and slice in to wide ribbons.
  2. Heat a large pot over medium heat with the olive oil. Add the onion, salt, and ham hock while the pot is cold.
  3. Sweat the onions and hock for around 15 minutes. Leave the hock on each side a while so it renders its fat and caramelizes. The onion should just start to brown.
  4. Add the kale, water, and cover. Cook until the kale has wilted, tossing occasionally.
  5. Add up to 4 cups water, enough to braise the kale but not enough to make a soup. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to low and simmer at least a half hour. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching. If desired, shred the meat from the ham hock and stir into the beans. Serve hot with vinegar for dressing.