Ingredients for Soup
- 2 cups dried beans, like black beans or navy beans
- 1/2 pound bacon slices, roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup Oil-Cured Heirloom Peppers (recipe below), roughly chopped
- NOTE: can also use fresh red bell pepper or store-bought oil cured peppers. Oil cured sun dried tomatoes also work).
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Ham bone
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup roughly chopped green onions, for serving
- sour cream or creme fraîche, for serving
Ingredients for Oil-Cured Heirloom Peppers (Makes 4 jars)
- 4 pounds sweet peppers, like corno di toro
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 2–3-inch sprigs of rosemary
- 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
- Kosher salt
- 3 cups olive oil, more or less
Directions for Soup
1. Put the beans in a bowl, cover them with cold water by 3 inches, and soak them at room temperature overnight. Drain well in a colander.
2. In a heavy-duty stockpot or large Dutch oven, cook the bacon until almost done. Remove the bacon pieces and set them aside. Add the onions, pepper, and garlic to the pot and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft.
3. Add the beans, ham bone, cumin, paprika, oregano, and crushed red pepper to the pot. Cover with 8 cups of water, turn up the heat, and bring the pot to a rolling boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent beans from sticking, for 2–3 hours. Add the reserved bacon pieces back in about 30 minutes before the soup is done.
4. The soup is done when beans are tender. Remove the ham bone from the pot and discard it. To serve, use a ladle to transfer the soup to bowls and garnish with chopped green onions and a dollop of sour cream or creme fraîche.
Directions for Peppers
1. Sterilize 4 pint-sized jars and their lids.
2. Wash the peppers and cut out the stem. Roast the peppers under the broiler on medium high, turning twice to char all around. When all sides are good and charred, remove from the oven and place them in a bowl. Cover the bowl tightly while the peppers are still hot, so they will sweat.
3. When the peppers have cooled down, gently peel the skins away and remove the seeds. Cut the pepper flesh into pieces that will fit into your pint jars. Season the peppers generously with kosher salt and set aside.
4. Get out your sterilized pint jars. Pour enough olive oil into the bottom of them to just cover it and add a bay leaf and garlic clove to each one. Add a layer of pepper pieces and drizzle olive oil over the peppers.
5. Repeat, drizzling each layer with oil until you have filled the jars. Stick a sprig of rosemary down into each jar. Use the rest of the oil to completely cover the peppers. Leave about a 1/2 inch at the top of the jar and be sure to clean the rim well.
6. Screw on the top, leave at room temperature for a day, then refrigerate.
Directions for Greens
You can sauté all greens except lettuces (I like collards and kale, with a little rainbow chard thrown in for color).
1. Rinse greens well in cold water.
2. Drain and cut leaves into 1/4- to 1/2-inch strips.
3. Heat oil or fat (just enough to coat bottom of pan) over medium-high heat in a well-seasoned heavy skillet or wok.
4. Add the greens and cook, stirring often, for about 5–10 minutes, or until the greens are tender.
5. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, herbs, hot pepper, sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame seeds, crumbled feta, or any other spice that catches your fancy.