The Village Idiot in Los Angeles serves a beans and bitter greens dish that reader Chris Shellan from Atwater Village describes as “incredible — rich and meaty, yet they swore they didn’t use any meat products.” Surprisingly simple to make, the dish — which is indeed vegetarian — makes a hearty one-dish meal.
The Village Idiot's beans and bitter greens
Cook the beans in lightly salted water until softened, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Smash one-fourth of the beans and set aside.
In a deep pot, combine the garlic with one-fourth cup oil over medium heat. Cook the garlic until fragrant and lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the finely diced ribs and cook a 2 to 3 minutes more to soften the ribs, careful not to burn the garlic. Stir in the white wine and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the greens and chard, along with the remaining olive oil, and cook until the greens are lightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the smashed beans, along with 1½ cups of the bean cooking liquid. Continue to cook until the mixture is thick and creamy. Adjust the consistency as desired with additional bean liquid, and season with 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste. This makes about 3 quarts.