If you grew up in the south, beans, greens, and ham were usually a regular favorite on the dinner table and the February 2014 edition of Southern Living Magazine featured a recipe with it all in one bowl! Southern Living was pretty much where I got all my recipes when I was first married and I have the annual editions from 1985 through today :-). They hold a special place in my heart and I get very excited that they are still producing quality recipes today!
After learning to love collard greens (turnip and mustard as well) growing up, I was very lucky that the man I married loved them just as much! He doesn’t quite have as deep south roots as I have but I have taught him well! I knew this dish would be something he would love too!
1 pound dried cannellini beans (the store was out of cannellini so I substituted northern beans)
1 medium-size yellow onion, diced
9 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
6 fresh thyme sprigs
5 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
3 fresh sage sprigs (optional – I didn’t use)
3 fresh basil sprigs (optional – I didn’t use)
2 (1-lb.) smoked ham hocks
1 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (optional – but I think this makes the flavors blend so nicely)
4 cups chopped fresh collard greens
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14.5-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
Rinse and sort beans according to package directions. Place beans in a large bowl; add water to 2 inches above beans. Cover and chill 8 to 12 hours. Drain beans, and place in a large saucepan. Add onion and 8 cups broth. Tie together thyme, parsley, bay leaves, and, if desired, sage and basil with string; add to bean mixture.
Add ham hocks and, if desired, rind. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, 1 hour or until beans are tender but hold their shape.
Skim off foam with a spoon. Remove hocks, and cool 5 minutes. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. (I was a litttle disappointed that my ham hocks did not have enough meat but not the recipe’s fault.) Return meat to bean mixture. Add collards, and cook, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes or until collards are tender.
Sauté garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat 2 minutes or until light golden. Add tomatoes, and sauté 5 minutes. Stir tomato mixture and remaining 1 cup broth into beans, and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.
Discard herb bundle and cheese rind; season beans with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately (I actually let it simmer all day and it was just fine!)
Bottom Line: I thought this was a great way to blend together some of my favorite southern ingredients into one dish. It was a perfect stand-alone dish for me. Hubby, however, thought it would be perfect along side a big fried pork chop! I guess that would be good, too! Try this dish and you won’t be disappointed..thank you, Southern Living!
Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy, East Memphis, TN, Southern Living