As I've grown [kind of, sort of] wiser, I have learned that some of the greatest things in life happen by accident or when you least expect it. It's often true for events: the ones I over plan, micromanage and have the highest hopes for, often flop and yet sometimes, a random Friday night when you have no clue what you're going to do, awesomeness just flows, and they seem to be the most memorable. I find this is also true with recipe development. Some of those off-the-cuff dinners where I'm cleaning out my fridge and just winging it on a weeknight, almost always turn out better than if I think about a recipe for days and weeks and envision some grand elaborate plan.
This is one of those accidentally amazing recipes and it is so good. Warming, smoky, full of caramelized veggies. You need to try it, like tonight.
It's also a great time to get some use out of your dusty cast iron skillet.
Roasted veggie and white bean hash
2-4 slices of good quality bacon (optional, but... also not)**
1 medium yellow onion, cut into thicker slices or small chunks
1 small bell pepper, cut into thin slices (I used orange)
1/2 bunch of asparagus (ideally on the thin side), tough stems removed, and then cut in half
4-5 large cloves garlic, left in their skins
3-4 lactino kale leaves (or spinach, swiss chard - whatever greens you have)
1 can of white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 tablespoons of basil pesto** (less if jarred, more if fresh), or fresh basil
Sundried tomatoes (in oil, preferably), approx 5-6 small slices
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 425F
Slice your bacon into small pieces, and place evenly in the bottom of a cast iron skillet (or a baking sheet lined with parchment)
Chop your onion, pepper, asparagus, tomatoes and add them all to a small bowl, add the garlic cloves in. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle with about 1 tbsp olive oil. Toss gently to coat.
Add veggies on top of the bacon (I did this to ensure the bacon was touching the pan, allowing the fat to render off), and put into the hot oven.
The veggies should take about 30 minutes, everything should be cooked through and well caramelized, but not burnt.
While the veggies are roasting, thinly slice the kale, removing the tough centre rib. Dice up the sundried tomatoes. Open the can of beans and rinse them off. Then set everything aside until your veggies are done roasting. The garlic may be done sooner than the veggies depending on the size, take a peak around 20 mins. Once done, remove the skins on the roasted garlic and chop/mash it up.
Now, take out the pan of veggies for a minute, add your pesto, beans, kale, sundrieds and roasted garlic. Stir well, and season again with salt and pepper, if needed (taste if you're not sure). Add back into the oven and let the new ingredients warm through, about 5-7 minutes.
When everything looks awesome, split evenly into two bowls, obviously adding slightly more bacon bits into your bowl. Or if cooking for yourself, save half for tomorrow.
**Tips and tricks
This recipe is quite versatile, swap any of the ingredients as you'd like, but if you have these ingredients around, I would definitely recommend trying it as written first.
Freeze your bacon: I know 2-4 slices of bacon is annoying to think about logistically, but since I don't want to eat 1/2 pound of bacon at a time, I separate the slices with parchment and freeze it. It's amazing how one or two slices can add so much flavour without making dishes too greasy. And slicing it up is much easier when it's frozen.
Winter tomatoes depress me: these ones But I have found to be the very best, unless tomatoes are actually local and in season (July-Sept). I know it sounds ridiculous and pretentious to be picky about a brand of tomatoes, but I highly recommend making the switch.
Freeze your pesto: I used a homemade pesto that I made a few months back and had put into ice cube trays and froze, I used 2 cubes here. I wouldn't use this much with jarred pesto as I find it is much more pungent. If you're normal and don't have fresh pesto around, use some fresh basil and parmesan (and extra olive oil if needed) if you can, instead of the jarred stuff. I tried a jar version in my recipe testing and it wasn't quite as tasty
Feel free to ask any questions down below! I hope you enjoy it.