Collards with pink beans and crispy masa harina crackers

Collards and red beans

As I hinted yesterday, cooler weather marks the highly anticipated return to stew season, here at The Ordinary. The excitement is palpable – akin to fashion week, really. What kinds of greens will we be eating this year? Will we be cooking red beans or black beans? Small white beans or large white beans? Are chickpeas still in fashion? Of course they are! And we’ll be cooking all the beans! All the greens!

In another lifetime, I might have gone to Gobelins, an animation school in Paris. They produce such clever, beautiful films. Here’s one called Rhapsodie pour un pot-au-feu, which I will share with you as a celebration of stew season…

This particular stew is a little spicy. It has collards, pink beans, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. It’s saucy and flavorful, seasoned with sage, smoked paprika, and cumin. If you can’t find pink beans, you could use red, pinto, or roman. I made the little crackers with masa harina, and they’re yummy, too. They have a little kick, because they contain cayenne. I fried half in olive oil on top of the stove, and I baked half in olive oil in the oven. The baked ones came out very crispy and quite hard – perfect for dipping in soup, although a little too hard to eat on their own – like rusks, I guess. The fried ones are nice as a snack, though – crispy outside, soft inside.

Masa harina crackers

Here’s Jimmy Smith with Come on Baby, from Home Cookin.


1 1/2 cups masa harina
1 t oregano
1/4 t cayenne (or to taste)
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
3 T olive oil
water (about 1 1/2 cups)

Mix the masa harina, salt, oregano, cayenne, baking powder and pepper in a big bowl. Add the olive oil and about 1 cup of water. Mix well. Add enough water to make a workable dough. It might seem very crumbly, but if you knead it for a minute or two, it should come together for you.

Form the dough into ropes about 1 inch thick, and with a sharp knife cut off disks about 1/4 inch thick.

Oven method…
Preheat the oven to 425. Generously coat a large cooking sheet with a layer of olive oil. Spread the masa discs in a single layer. Brush the top with olive oil.

Bake for about 1/2 an hour, till they’re lightly brown on both sides, turning from time to time.

Top of the stove method…

Warm about 1/3 inch of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When it sizzles a crumb, drop the crackers in, as many as you can comfortably fit, and fry on both sides till golden. Let drain on paper towels or a cooling rack.


2 T olive oil
1 large potato – scrubbed and cut in 1/3 in dice
1 large carrot – diced
1 jalapeno pepper – seeds and veins removed – minced
1 large clove garlic – minced
1 cup cooked collards (I boiled mine about 1/2 hour in salted water) chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
3 or 4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 sage leaves
dash wine
1 t smoked paprika
1/2 t cumin
pinch each, allspice, coriander, ginger and mustard powder
1 T butter
dash balsamic
salt and plenty of pepper

In a large stew pot, warm the olive oil. Add the potato, and cook, stirring till it starts to soften – five minutes, maybe. Then add the jalapeno and carrot, and cook another five minutes. Add the garlic, sage, and collards, and cook a few minutes.

Add a splash of white wine to loosen all the good flavorful bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Mix well. Add the spices and about 3 cups of water – enough to cover everything. (I used the collard-cooking water.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes, carrot and collard are just as soft as you like them. 15 – 20 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, and cook another 5 or 10 minutes till they’re softened and starting to break down. Add the butter, balsamic, and plenty of salt and pepper.

Serve with masa harina crackers and grated sharp cheddar.


2 thoughts on “Collards with pink beans and crispy masa harina crackers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s