Simple fare can be so comforting, and it’s usually easy to prepare. This is one of those ‘fix it and forget it’ type of recipes that simmers away on the stove top, while you’re off napping, reading or just kicking it back. It’s the perfect dinner idea for a lazy Sunday. It also offers you an opportunity to try collard greens, if you haven’t already brought these powerhouse greens into your kitchen. Collard greens are an excellent source of phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, folates, and dietary fiber. Included in the instructions for this meal, is a foolproof, oven-baked brown rice cooking technique, that never, ever fails. Oh and by the way, this meal tastes awesome. The combination of diverse ingredients meld beautifully via the slow cook method, culminating in a surprisingly, delicious dish. Our lives are busy and sometimes doing absolutely nothing but totally relaxing, is the perfect prescription for the day ahead. A girl has gotta eat though, and this ‘dinner in a bowl’ dovetails perfectly with your plan to take it easy. It’s so good that people will think you’ve been slaving over a hot stove all day. There’s no reason to spill the (pinto) beans … let ‘em think you’re a superwoman, because actually … you ARE!
Here’s what you’ll need …
Half of an onion, chopped
1 orange, sweet pepper, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bunch of collard greens. Remove center stem from each leaf and slice into ribbons. I don’t use the stem … throw it on the compost pile or discard.
Two, 8 ounce Niman Ranch uncured ham steaks, chopped into cubes.
Two, 15 ounce cans of Pinto beans, rinsed and drained.
Today, I used two cans of these Ranch style beans.
*Note* Although the beans I used feature jalapeño, the resulting flavor is not hot and spicy in the least. Instead, there is a very subtle bit of heat which actually adds to the overall composition of the dish in a good way. Be sure to empty the contents of whatever brand beans you choose to use, into a colander, to rinse and drain the beans before adding to the cook pot.
One, 32 ounce container of chicken broth
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
3 heaping tablespoons of ketchup
3 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
a few grinds each of salt and pepper
cooked brown rice
Open a jar of sliced jalapeños and put it on the table in case folks want to dial up the heat at serving time.
Let’s get cooking …
In a dutch oven, pour a few rounds of olive oil and set the heat at medium. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, sweet pepper and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes and then, add the collard greens and continue cooking until the greens are wilted.
Add in the seasonings, (cumin through salt and pepper). Cook for three minutes and pour in the chicken broth. Add in chopped ham and beans. Simmer over medium low heat for two hours.
During the last hour of cooking, prepare and bake the brown rice.
Here’s what you’ll need …
1 1/2 cup of long grain brown rice rinsed and drained. (I use Basmati brown rice.)
2 1/3 cup of boiling water. (Measure the water in heat proof container after it is boiled.)
2 teaspoons of olive oil
a few grinds of salt and pepper.
Fool Proof Brown Rice Cooking Method:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
While the water is boiling, rinse and drain brown rice and place in a 8-inch square baking dish that has been prepped with a thin coat of spray oil. Add the olive oil and salt and pepper onto the drained rice. Pour in the boiling water and lightly combine everything. Cover dish with a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.
Remove foil and cover rice with a clean, dish towel and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Fluff with fork.
In a single-serving pasta bowl, ladle in a bottom layer of brown rice. Add the ham, bean and collard greens mixture over the rice and be sure to include a hefty dose of the juice.
I put my own twist on this recipe that I originally discovered in the cookbook featured below:
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Bang Bang Shrimp over crispy rice noodle with a mango slaw. Crazy good!
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