Thursday, 7 June 2012

Spring greens and black beans with chorizo

Although you can buy them pretty much all year round these days, spring greens are at their best in the spring. There's a good month still before they go "out of season".

This beauty cost me a mere 59p at my local market and will feed me for the best part of the week. First up was this recipe. As I still have some chorizo left over, I'll use that and more of the greens to make a quick bowl of caldo verde. The last will probably end up in a stir-fry.

This is very quick - if you're organised, you'll be eating it within 20 minutes.

What you need:
A few leaves of spring greens
1-2 small cooking chorizo sausages, sliced into rounds
1/2 can black beans
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp nigella
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
A little vegetable oil

What to do: 
Heat the oil in a heavy sauteuse over a medium heat then toast the nigella and mustard seeds until they start to release their aromas. Add the chorizo, onions and garlic and fry for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Quarter the leaves lengthwise and chop. Add to the pan and stir through. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the black beans, stir through again, pop a lid on the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Dish up.

Cook's tips:
Discard the toughest outer leaves of the greens, especially any that look as if the slugs have had a little nibble on them. Wash the rest thoroughly before use as they can harbour grit and mud.I usually cut the central ribs out of the bigger leaves and discard them as they are too tough to eat. The innermost leaves are the tenderest but all cook very quickly. Spring greens don't lend themselves well to longer cooking, like a savoy cabbage will - fast and dirty is the way to go.

Black beans can be difficult to find. They are a staple in Mexican cooking and usually used to make refried beans, although the tinned refried beans in the shops here usually contain pinto or kidney beans. Sainsbury's sell them in small cartons but the best place to track them down is in an Asian grocery, where they can usually be found alongside the tins of chickpeas. 

Use the other half of the tin to make my Mexican-style chicken.

Nigella is also known as black onion seeds. Most supermarkets stock it in the herbs and spices section, otherwise look in the Asian grocery stores.