The Cooking Chronicles: White Beans with Kale and Savoy Cabbage

I remember two things from junior high home economics class – one – always level dry ingredients in baking, and two – read over recipes from start to finish before beginning prep. Why only the first one stuck with me I’m not sure.

My recipe scanning worked against me with a recent trial of white beans with kale and savoy cabbage, from a wonderful cookbook called Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets by Deborah Madison (thanks, May!). I skipped the first step of reconstituting and cooking beans, as I had a can of them ready to be added to the softened vegetables. However, by the time I reached step three, I realized the dish needed to be simmered for half an hour, time we didn’t have given the accompanying pan-fried chicken was drying out as we waited. It also became clear that cooking the beans would have provided some of the flavour base (I resorted to using water).

The resulting dish – our first experiment with kale – was edible, though I can’t say we enjoyed the half-limp texture. We did take leftovers for lunch the next day, and both of us thought the flavour had much improved overnight – the additional simmering was specified in the recipe for a reason, of course.

White Beans with Kale and Savoy Cabbage

I relayed this story to my coworker who had supplied me with the kale from her garden. She said a much simpler sautéed preparation would have been more ideal – one has to cook to learn, right?