Spicy Beans and Greens Stew {FANTASTIC DISH!}

Can I share my love of Bon Appetit Magazine.  I absolutely love it, and I love the recipes I find between it's pages EVERY SINGLE MONTH!  I rip at least one recipe out of the mag every time I read.  (Yesterday I read the Mar. issue and I have 6 recipes to try!  Heaven!)  This recipe was featured in the Feb. issue, and I made it the day I read the article.  It just looked so filling, and hearty, and cozy, and warm.  Everything you want on a cold Jan. day.  It's funny though the responses you get from a dish like this.  People are either a lovers or a haters of beans, and especially greens.  I definitely fall into the lover category.

I've always loved a good Bean and Bacon soup.  Actually I love Campbells Bean and Bacon soup straight out of the can!  I've been eating that as long as I can remember.  My mom taught me how to whip up a can of Campbell's at a young age.  It became a Sat. afternoon, and after school staple during my growing up years.  And of course my favorites were the Bean and Bacon, Split Pea with Ham, and Chicken Gumbo.  The last few years I have found a love for  Greens too!!!  It all started with the Zuppa Tuscana Soup, and then it branched out into the Minestrone Soup with Kale, and then my favorite breakfast now entails sauteed greens with a fried egg on top.  It's delicious!!  Those greens are so tasty!!  My Grandpa Barker always had Swiss Chard in his garden and brought my family some almost weekly during the summers.  I remember eating a lot of that stuff growing up.  I loved it.  My mom would steam it, and then we'd eat it with butter, vinegar and salt and pepper.  Lovely! I had just never thought of adding it into soup.  So needless to say when I saw this recipe in the pages of Bon Appetit this last months it didn't take long for me to decide I was going to make this stew.

I had all the ingredients, but there are a few things that may not be staples in every home.  Anchovies being the ingredient that I'm not sure everyone has in their fridge.  Let me just say this- I would never have anchovies on pizza, or would I ever think of using them in a recipe, but if you get over the fact that anchovies are actually fish with eyes, they taste really good!  If you like Caesar Salad then you like anchovies.  They're a key ingredient in the dressing.  They actually give whatever you're cooking a yummy saltiness, and that little bit of "What is it that makes this taste so good-ness?" to the recipe.  Anchovies keep forever in your fridge, and you can actually buy it in a tube (Anchovy Paste) already ground up.  Kind of like toothpaste, so you don't have to look those fishies in the eyes:)

You could make this stew a little thinner if you like, and have more of a soup.  I loved the thick heartiness of the stew, but next time I may want it to be more soupy.  It was great with a yummy piece of bread to dip in.  (Great Harvest Honey Whole Wheat was my  choice for the night.) It was awesome the day after in my kids thermos' for lunch.  They got a few, "What are you eating-s?" at school, but most of their friends smelled the goodness in the thermos, and just made the yummy sound:) So I will quote a little saying from James' granny, "Don't be a pantywaist, and make this stew!"  Be brave, and bold, and I promise you'll like this stuff!  And thank you Bon Appetit for another FAVORITE recipe:)  I love you!!

Spicy Beans and Greens Stew
recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

¼ cup olive oil
4 anchovy fillets packed in oil or 2 t. anchovy paste
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 sprig rosemary or 1 t. dried rosemary
salt and pepper
1 pound dried white beans or chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained
1/2 lb or 2 bunches kale ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 lb  flat-leaf spinach coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
shredded Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over the top of the stew.

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook anchovies, if using, red pepper flakes, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until garlic is soft and anchovies are dissolved, about 4 minutes. Add onion, celery, and rosemary; season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, 8–10 minutes.

Add beans, and 10 cups water.  (I used the quick cook beans technique because I wanted the stew NOW and not the next day.  It turned out perfectly.  Here's a link to quick cooking dried beans. Or you could always use 3-4 cans of white beans.  It would probably work great, and quite easy.)Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed, until beans are beginning to fall apart, 3–4 hours.

Lightly smash some beans with a potato masher to give stew a creamy consistency. Mix in kale and spinach season with salt and pepper and lemon juice. Cook until greens are wilted, 5–8 minutes.
Add shaved Parmesan, and a drizzle of oil if you want.  Yummy!

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