If you’re vegan, you may or may not be aware of a vegan cooking site that has took the web by storm a few years ago. (I first read about it in The New York Times.) It’s called Thug Kitchen. The site was founded by a vegan couple who lamented what they thought to be the “preciousness” of many cooking sites. Determined to spice up their site, they peppered it with salty language (so to speak).
The site was instantly popular and has spawned three books so far. I received one of them (Thug Kitchen) as a gift and have enjoyed reading and cooking from it. I invariably have to snicker out of the pure irreverence of it all.
The recipe below is a fantastic one-dish meal from that cookbook. The original recipe called for black-eyed peas, but I couldn’t find dried organic ones. I substituted navy beans and it turned out very nicely. Also, I made the beans in a pressure cooker instead of in a pot. This cut the time in half.
Here’s how I did it: Instead of doing steps 2 and 3 in a pot, I did the whole thing in a pressure cooker—the sautéing, and cooking the beans. Follow the instructions in step 2 as is. Then when it comes time to add the beans, follow the instructions as well. The only difference is this: Once you’ve added the beans and stock, bring the cooker to high pressure. Cook on high for 11 minutes (if you’re using navy beans—times will vary for other types of beans). Keep an eye on your cooker to make sure it maintains pressure and doesn’t start going higher than the high mark. On a gas stove, it’s easy to adjust the heat to maintain correct pressure. After 11 minutes, turn off the fire and let it return to zero pressure on its own. DO NOT open the pressure cooker until there’s no more pressure. If the beans need more cooking, you can simmer them until they’re done.
I could see that this recipe was going to make way more food than two people can eat, so I just cooked two of the yams and one large bunch of greens. The next day, this meal was very easy to make because I only had to bake the yams and cook the greens. Also, you can experiment with substituting roasted cauliflower or broccoli instead of the greens.
Note: I took the liberty of cleaning up the language from the original recipe, but the meal still turned out smashingly.
Meatless Monday: Smoky Beans with Yams and Greens
- 1 lb. navy beans, washed and soaked overnight
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 tablespoons garlic, minced (5-7 cloves)
- 1 7-ounce can, chipotles in adobo (I used a couple dried chipotles, soaked in boiled water for 10 minutes to soften.)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 quart, low-sodium vegetable stock
- 4 sweet potatoes, washed and pierced with the tip of a small knife all over
- 1 large bunch of greens (collards, mustard, kale, or chard)
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 425. Wash and pierce the yams with a fork several times. Place on an aluminum foil-lined sheet and bake about an hour, turning once.
2. Meanwhile, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Slice the chipotle peppers (keeping the sauce they sit in) and add the peppers and sauce into the pot along with both kinds of paprika and 3 tablespoons garlic. Cook for a minute.
3. Drain the soaking water from the beans. Add the beans and stock to the pot. Season with salt and lots of pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer cooking until tender and soft (but not mushy), about 45-50 minutes. Stir occasionally and add water as necessary to keep the peas covered.
4. While the beans cook, prepare the greens. Wash the greens and remove the stems. Wrapping the greens like a fat cigar, thinly slice into ribbons.
5. When the beans are done, turn to low and cover (or just turn off; they’ll stay warm). To a large pan or wok, add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Then, add the greens and toss with tongs, cooking 3-5 minutes until the greens are wilted and cooked through (Kale would need to cook a little longer). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Slice open the baked potatoes and load them up with as much beans and greens as you can stand (2-3 ladles of beans per potato; evenly divide the greens among the four potatoes).