Mustard Greens and Mustered Beans

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Mustard greens are one of those early-season (and late-season) CSA stalwarts that used to give me fits. Frittatas were the aspirational default, but if I’m honest, mushstuck to the crisper drawer was too often the reality.

Since last May, though, my work schedule has had me home in the days following CSA Day, so I’ve had more time to play with my food. And that includes making a big, low-and-slow pot of beans most weeks, working them into four or five meals along the way.

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By the time the gorgeous red mustard leaves you see above arrived, the fridge was bare of prepared beans, and our dried stash was down to a partial pack of Goya pintos that had fallen from the pantry’s middle rack down into the baking section. From that scraggly bag, I was able to muster just enough to make two big portions to accompany our turkey burgers the next day.

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Beans and Greens

Use whatever beans you’ve got—black beans, black-eyed peas, fancy Ranch Gordo heirlooms, or the humble pinto—dried or canned. I cover dried beans with 2 inches of cold water, add celery, carrot, garlic, onion, a bay leaf, and a giant pinch of salt, and simmer (mostly covered) for several hours, until randomly plucked sample beans are soft and creamy. Keep an eye out for dryness—periodically add back some water if you need to—and know that an overnight soak in salted water will cut the pot’s cooking time at least by half. 

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If you’re using canned beans, sautéing a bit of garlic, celery, and onion in some olive oil before you add the beans is well worth the extra step.
  • 1 bunch mustard greens (4-5 big leaves), washed, stemmed, and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup prepared pinto (or other) beans 
  • salt and pepper
  • hot sauce

 

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Zippy mustard greens and turnip tops are my favorites here, but kale, chard, spinach, and dandelion will all fall into line, too. To make quick work of broad leaves, stack them, remove the spines, roll them, and slice them into ribbons.

 

In a large skillet (big enough to accommodate big fistfuls of greens), warm the beans with a little olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally so they don’t scorch. Once they’re heated through, add the greens and stir till they’re wilted. 

Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. 

Leftovers, by the way, are stellar with an over-easy egg the next morning.

 

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