A lot happens over the course of single season during the life of a garden. By late autumn, the plants that produced all sorts of good things during the summer have become compost, the fields will soon be tilled under to mark the transition to fall, and the leaves on the aspen trees turn from green to gold. Enough food was grown to eat, to preserve, and to share. Abundance sprang from the soil and found its way out into the world. Pounds of produce were harvested and enjoyed.
There were some things that didn’t work, as there always are in a season of growing things. There wasn’t enough mulch in some places, and the space between rows ended up being waist high grass by mid-September. The raspberries wanted more water than they got, and wild turkeys feasted on the delicata squash. Uses for cucumbers and zucchini ran out before we could pick them all, and some giants got left in the field. But the garden was alive with growth, and it lived for another season, despite challenges. Perhaps it lives on year after year because of those challenges and the contrast they provide.
As we pick the last of the green beans before the first hard freeze and anticipate the nordic ski tracks we’ll make around the hay field, we look forward to time to rest in gratitude for what has been and for what is still to be.
Enjoy this recipe as you celebrate your own transition into whatever’s coming next.
Beans & Greens Stew
- 1 large bunch Kale, Chard or Spinach – ribs and stems removed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped & peeled carrots and/or potatoes
- 1 cup chopped shallots, mild onion, or leek
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine (optional)
- 2 15-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2-3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
Sauté shallots/onion/leeks in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add garlic and stir a minute more. Add carrots and potatoes. Add broth, tomatoes and wine (if using). Bring to a boil and then simmer until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. Add beans toward the end of the cooking time, and then stir in thyme, black pepper and salt. Serve with crusty bread, a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, and the rest of the wine.
Base recipe from Prairie Grown: Stories and Recipes from A South Dakota Hillside