Stewed Collards with Beans and a Parmigiano Rind From Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden Serves 6 “The classic Southern dish has you stew the collards with a ham hock or some other pork product. In my version, I keep the greens vegetarian, but I don’t give up one bit of the savory umami flavor of meat – a Parmigiano rind does the trick. Not to mention that you now have something to do with all those bits of leftover cheese!”
Basic Recipe for Perfect Shell Beans (included below, or substitute canned Cannelini beans) 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled 1 sweet onion, sliced 1 rind from a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano 1 big sprig rosemary 1 small whole dried chile, such as chile de arbol 1 bunch collards, ribs cut out, leaves cut into wide ribbons Grilled bread, for serving (optional) Extra-virgin olive oil Follow the recipe for the perfect shell beans, but once the beans are about half-cooked, add the garlic, onion, cheese rind, rosemary, chile, and collards. It may take a few minutes for the collards to wilt enough to actually submerge them in the bean liquid, but add a bit of water if you need to. Simmer until the beans are fully tender as well as the collards. The cheese will just soften and contribute flavor to the dish. When the beans are fully cooked, take the pot from the heat and let everything rest for at least 30 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprig and whole chile. You can reheat a bit before serving, if you like, but the flavors and textures will be best if the dish is warm, not hot. Serve in a bowl on its own or ladled over a piece of grilled bread. Finish with a nice drizzle of olive oil on top. Perfect Shell Beans Makes 5 cups cooked beans and liquor 2 cups dried beans 1 big sprig rosemary 1 small whole dried chile 1 bay leaf 1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled Kosher salt 8 to 10 cups water Extra-virgin olive oil Put the beans in a bowl or pot and add cool water to cover by a couple of inches. Soak them overnight on the counter. Drain and rinse; you should have about 4 cups now. Continue with the recipe. Put the beans, rosemary, chile, bay leaf, garlic, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt in a large pot. It needs to be big enough for the beans to expand, so make sure there’s plenty of room. Add water to cover the beans to 1 inch – about 10 cups for dried. Bring everything just barely to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce the heat and adjust so that the beans are simmering merrily, but not actually boiling hard at all. Cook uncovered until the beans are about halfway soft. You can tell by biting into a few – they will be soft enough for you to easily bit them with no crunch, but they’ll still be quite dry and crumbly inside. This could take as little as 1 hour, so taste early and often!