Summer Fest 2009: Beans and Greens Week

by Matt on August 11, 2009


No, your eyes are not deceiving you and no, my calender is just fine, thankyouverymuch. This is Week 3 of Summer Fest and it’s all about Greens & Beans. So what on earth are root veggies doing here? I’m so glad you asked!

summerfest-badgeNow I’m sure our wonderful and delightful creator, Margaret Roach, will eventually make her way to a week of Root Vegetables like Turnips and Rutabagas but beets do grow year round and I couldn’t help myself with this recipe that just screams fall to me. I couldn’t wait for one of my all time favorite things to eat which just happen to be only part of the story here.

I love beets. Pickled beets, roasted beets, beet slaw, borscht, juiced beets, you catch my drift? And to me the best thing about beets happens to be the greens attached to those crimson, strain-your-hands-and-fingertip beets.  And since beets are growing and I always seem to walk away with a bunch when I visit our best friends Todd & Diane I’ve been able to indulge myself with the sauteed greens on a regular basis, not to mention those delicious oven-roasted beets.

Preparing beet greens is very similar to other sturdy leafy greens like mustard and dandelion greens. Rinse well, cook low and slow so that the heat can break down the leaves, leaving them soft and silky. I’m not one to enjoy overlooked mushy greens (think blah! bland! spinach!) so I always keep an eye on my beet greens and chards but I’ve noticed it’s ok to err on the side of time. Underdone and they just seem too bitter for me.

This recipe originally appeared during my guest stint on Design*Sponge. If I had to pick 5 of my all time recipe favorites this would certainly be on the list. It’s high adaptable, can be made with pancetta or bacon (or not!), and can even be made completely vegan. I would probably eat this everyday if I had my druthers.


Sauteed Beet Greens with Pancetta & Sundried Tomatoes

1 pound beet greens
1 1/4 inch slice of pancetta, diced into small cubes
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, minced

3/4 cup of water
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, or to taste

After removing the beets, wash the greens in cold water. Drain and repeat until all the grit and dirt is gone. Remove the long stems and chop into half-inch pieces and set aside. Tear or cut the leaves into 2-inch pieces and set aside.

In a large saucepan, cook the diced pancetta over medium heat until brown and then remove from pan. Saute the beet stems in the pancetta grease until slightly tender and then add the shallots and dried tomatoes. Cook for another 2 minutes, stir in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Returned the cooked pancetta to the pan and then add water and scrape up any bits left in the pan. Stir in the pepper flakes, add sugar and cook until boiling. Reduce heat and add the remaining greens and cover and simmer for about 8 minutes. Splash with vinegar and serve over polenta. I’m leaving that part up to you, but I always add a generous serving of mascarpone to mine.


Summer Fest Green and Beans Posts from your hosts:

No wasting allowed! A delicious summer salad recipe from White On Rice Couple

Margaret from the House Of A Way To Garden is scoring 10’s across the board with her Beans & Greens fierce realness! (if anyone gets my Paris Is Burning reference here then you win a very special prize)

Jaden’s delicious stir-fry is making me hungry right now

Sometimes with Farrah Hair, wings and all, and sometimes not: Shauna Shows Us Salad



Summer Fest 2009 is a four-week, cross-blog celebration co-created (alphabetically listed) by A Way to Garden, Matt Armendariz of Mattbites, Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, and Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple, with guest appearances from Shauna and Daniel Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl, Simmer Till Done’s Marilyn Pollack Naron, and Paige Smith Orloff of The Sister Project.  And from you—that’s critical. Your contributions are desired, and needed.

THE 2009 SCHEDULE (next week is the finale!)

  • Tuesday, August 18: TOMATO WEEK. How do you like them love apples?


So now it’s your turn: Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? Starting Tuesday July 28, you can contribute in various ways, big or small. It’s up to you: Contribute a whole post, a comment—whatever you wish. It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious. The possibilities:

Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Summer Fest post on Margaret’s blog at A Way To Garden, and then go visit the collaborators and do the same.

The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

Or think bigger: Publish entire entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2009 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt Armendariz of Mattbites).

Get in on the fun: Come comment, link to things from your own archives or the archives of your favorite blogs, post entire recipe in comments or on your blog.