There's been a lot of talk about "Hygge," lately. This Danish term, comprising of a sense of coziness, mindful appreciation and warmth has become a hit concept this winter season, and for good reason. Many people are retreating to simpler pleasures and home practices that bring them comfort and mental rest -- anything can be "hyggelig," even a bowl of soup, or a lit candle. Though some have argued that the super-trendy and sometimes overly commercial appropriation of the term "Hygge" stems from a wider "well-being" trend, the concept has certainly taken hold and glorified home life as a source of joy. Today, my "Hygge" is a bowl of soup and a slice of warm bread.
Experimenting with different types of soups, grain bowls and stews this season has been pretty great for using up all the ingredients I have around the house, and has offered a lot of great vegetarian and vegan options. I'm aiming for 2017 to feature far more plant-based cooking, so I hope to continue this pattern of adding a bit of green into my usual color palette of the crisp, golden brown of baked goods. To 2017, a year of veggie-forward, budget-friendly, cozy cooking!
This recipe was adapted from a kale-focused Martha Stewart version, to adjust to what I had available in my kitchen -- clean-out day soups are the best!
Potato, White Bean and Collard Greens Stew
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion, diced
3 Ribs of Celery
2 Large Carrots
2 Large Russet Potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp Maldon Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Pepper, multi-colored or black
1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
1-2 cups Raw Collard Greens, woody stems removed
1 can (15 oz) Navy or Cannellini Beans
1-2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar, to taste
- Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large Dutch Oven or stock pot. Dice and add onion, and cook until translucent.
- Chop celery and carrots (into rounds, or Paysanne cut), and add to the pot, sautéeing until the colors brighten and edges soften, 8 minutes or so.
- Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and add to the pot, along with 5 cups of water. Add salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence. Bring up temperature until the liquid is boiling, and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Mash some of the contents against the edge of the pot with the back of a spoon, being careful not to splatter.
- Add the chopped collard greens and the can of beans, drained. Cook for 6-8 more minutes, until the greens soften.
- Add vinegar, to taste. This adds another depth of flavor to the stew.
- Serve, hot, in big bowls with some crusty bread.
I've got a loaf of wheat bread nearly done in the bread machine, and the house smells seriously homey. This will be a great vegan and mostly plant-based dinner (only exception to the plant-based "rules" is the olive oil!). Here's to eating everything warm and steamy out of a bowl on dark, grey winter nights.