Recently, I wrote about learning how to cook in bad restaurants for the Austin Chronicle. In the article, I mention how at the first restaurant I worked we had this killer dish called Greens & Beans. It's one of the stronger ways to prepare cooked spinach. Its rustic, stew-like viscosity is the perfect substance to dip in some crusty bread. Also, it utilizes a whole fried pepper - a beautiful thing that also foodies go crazy for. Maybe this dish from 1999 is still relevant. It's got some cheap restaurant tricks, I'll admit. Chicken stock (the magic juice) used in a vegetarian dish seems a little bit lazy, and it is. It's easy flavor - but boy does it do a lot for spinach. Greens & Beans could be vegan or vegetarian easily, but that's not how we did it. It tastes better this way - as a senseless utilization of vegetables. It's a meat soaked vegetarian dish, and it's one of my favorites.
4 bunches fresh spinach
1 small white onion, halved and sliced thin
6 cloves garlic
2 15 oz. containers of canned cannelloni beans, rinsed
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1/4 lb. butter
We're sautéing here. Get a large pot hot on medium heat. Add a little olive oil and caramelize the white onions. Then add garlic. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Now add the rinsed beans. Squeeze 2 lemons. Salt and pepper. Now add in the chicken stock. Let everything cook for 10 minutes. Now add the butter. Once the butter is fully incorporated into the sauce and has disappeared completely, add your spinach. Add a little more salt and pepper. Keep spinning the spinach - moving the bottom to the top and the top to the bottom, until it starts to wilt. I can't stress this enough, wilt your spinach. The name of the game is here to let the heat from the sauce do most of the cooking. Keep twisting with tongs until you've got greens that looks cooked, but not the overdone, dark forest green you see so often in frozen spinach.
Top with a hot fried pepper and some Romano cheese. I eat it with crusty bread.