A lot happens over the course of single season during the life of a garden. By November, the plants that produced all sorts of good things during the summer have become compost, the fields have been tilled under to mark the close of the growing season, and the leaves on the aspen trees have turned from green to gold. Enough food was grown to eat, to preserve and to sell. 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 farming and gardening. Maybe there wasn’t enough mulch in some places, and the rows ended up being waist high grass by September. Perhaps the raspberries wanted more water than they got, or the cucumber beetles decided to feast on the melons. It’s likely that uses for cucumbers and zucchini ran out and some giants got left in the field. But the farm was alive with growth, and it lived for another season, despite challenges-or perhaps it lives on year after year because of them and the contrast they provide.
As we pick the last of the frozen kale bits from the stalks and make ski tracks 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 winter.
White Bean and Kale Stew
1 large bunch Kale– ribs and stems removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (5 1/4 ounces) chopped carrots and/or potatoes
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) chopped shallots, about 4 medium
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine (optional)
2 15-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups (or more to taste) vegetable broth
1 cup pureed or chopped tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh thyme sprigs
Sauté shallots and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add carrots and potatoes. Add broth, tomatoes and wine (if using), along with beans. Bring to a boil and then simmer until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. Add thyme, black pepper and salt to taste. Serve with crusty bread and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
*This recipe can be found in the November section of Prairie Grown: Stories and Recipes from a South Dakota Hillside. Order yours today to get it in time for the holidays. Makes a great gift for all who appreciate organic gardening, sourcing food locally, and appreciating the turn of the seasons.