Sweet Potatoes, Collards and Butter Beans – Oh My!

Well folks the combination of work travel and weekend yard work and work work has resulted in precious little cooking in One Woman’s Kitchen in recent weeks.  Finally had time yesterday to hit the farmer’s market and make dinner.  I’ve been waiting for the collards to come in and they’re finally here!  Ginormous sweet potatoes are in too.  Yum.  Dinner done.

Dinner tonight was a bunch of vegetables and starches.  I made collards and rice with smoked turkey; butter beans; and honey mustard sweet potatoes.  Yum, yum and yum.  Let’s start with the collards and rice.  I stemmed, chopped and cooked most of the collards for later freezing, saving one bunch for cooking with the rice.  The advantage to doing the big pot of collards first is that I had leftover pot liquor to cook the rice in.  If you’ve never cooked collards check out my post from last September or pick up a Paula Deen cookbook.  You make the pot liquor with water, smoked turkey (or ham hock) and hot sauce.  Once you cook the greens for an hour or so you have a yummy liquid perfect for cooking this rice in.

Collard greens need to be cooked a while to make them soft enough to eat.  They’re kind of the consistency of the outer leaves on a head of cabbage.  Longer cooking also takes the bitterness out of them.  I put the chopped collards in the pot at the same time as the raw rice.  I probably could have waited until the rice was partially cooked. That would have preserved more of the bright green color.  Still, good stuff. And so, so easy if you’ve already done a pot of collards.  You can just take the smoked turkey leg or ham hock, chop the meat and add it to the rice at the end.  If not, I’d probably cook the rice and collards in chicken or vegetable stock.  The flavor will be more subtle, but still good.  Adding a little butter at the end would be a nice touch too.

On to the butter beans.  I have been trying for years to make butter beans that come even close to those our family friend Doris made in my growing up years.  Again, I missed the mark.  Still, these were pretty good.  Last summer I bought and shelled a bunch of beans and froze them.  I cooked them in a little stock, a little water, a lot of butter and some salt.  That’s it.  Good, but still far short of the ones I remember.

The new recipe for the night was Honey Mustard Sweet Potatoes.  I have only recently come to enjoy sweet potatoes.  As a kid of course I loved the sweet potatoes that came covered in marshmallows, but that was about the marshmallows.  In recent years I’ve found a bunch of recipes that combine sweet potatoes with salty and spicy flavors.  Much better.  I came across a Cooking Light recipe for these potatoes, but mostly ignored it.  In the end I baked a sweet potato; mashed it; and added raw local honey and dijon mustard to them.  Maybe next time I’ll try the real recipe.

Good?  Definitely.
Easy? Yep. The hardest part is getting everything to finish at the same time.
Good for company? Any of these sides would be good for company, but I wouldn’t serve this as a company dinner.
Good? Nope. But, as always, I recommend getting as much from local farmers as possible.

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One Response to “Sweet Potatoes, Collards and Butter Beans – Oh My!”

  1. Andrea Says:

    Our family always make butter beans with salted pork. I’ve tried making them without that unhealthy addition…but they’re never as good.

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