I know that "greens and beans" are an actual thing, but speaking more technically, I just love greens and beans, in nearly any form. They make an underrated meal when combined, and when served hot, I feel like it's as comforting as soup and as hearty as stew, but in a lighter way that lends itself to al fresco dining (and wine-ing, obviously) in springtime without sweating one's proverbial or actual balls off (this is very important to me). It doesn't beg for meat, although now that we're bringing it up - this would be divine with sausage. See how I can't just let a good thing be a good thing? Anyway, this dish is dreamy as is. The wine broth is salty and rich, and there is just enough to be soaked up with toasted bread at the end (or at the beginning, or in the middle).
In terms of the process, here, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. You can absolutely use other strong, leafy greens instead of collards. Truthfully, I would normally be quicker to make this with Swiss chard or kale, but I had collard greens from a day at the market with this girl, and it was really fun to transform the sort of intimidating, bitter green into something so tasty. I think the only real trick is that they need to simmer for a long time, and alongside a lot of other great, strong flavors; in fact, just rely on your own taste to judge when they're done—you'll know. I also think the little amount of honey is clutch. It won't sweeten the dish, but it helps round everything out nicely.
Collard greens and beans in white wine broth
Yields 3-4 servings (more as an appetizer)
⅓ cup diced sweet onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch collard greens, ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped, rinsed and drained
2 cups good chicken stock
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
⅓ cup dry white wine
1 T Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
Parmesan cheese for grating over the top
In a large sauté pan, melt butter and olive oil over medium/medium low heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for another minute. Add greens, and stir to coat. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Raise heat to high, and add white wine, followed by chicken stock, Dijon, and honey. Let come to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low/low, stir in beans, and cover. Simmer (covered) for 30-35 minutes until greens are cooked and tasty. Taste for seasoning, and then ladle into wide bowls. Top with a good amount of Parmesan cheese and a pinch more of red pepper flakes. Serve with toasted bread for soaking up all the broth.