Kale with Red Beans, Cilantro, and Feta Cheese

1 1/2 cups dried red Kidney or Tigers Eye beans, soaked overnight or at least 4 hours.
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
sea salt
1 white onion, finely diced
1 large bunch kale (can also use chard or collards)
2 TBSP olive oil, plus extra to finish
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1. Drain the beans, cover with plenty of cold water, and bring to a boil. Remove any foam that rises to the surface, then add the herbs, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and all but 1/2 cup of the onion. Lower heat and simmer until tender. Cooking time can vary from 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on the type of bean.
2. Slice kale leaves from their stems with a knife. Chop coarsely into 1 or 2-inch pieces and rinse well. Bring a few quarts of water to a boil, add salt and kale. Simmer until tender-about 5 minutes. Pour into colander to drain.
3. Heat the oil in a wide skillet. Add the remaining 1/2 cup onion and 1/2 cup of the cilantro. Cook over medium heat until the onion has softened, about 10 minutes. Add the kale and beans with enough of the cooking liquid so that there’s plenty of sauce. Simmer together for at least 10 minutes, then serve garnished with crumbled feta and the remainder of the cilantro.

Refried Beans

2 cups dry beans, pinto or Rising River Farm’s mixed beans
2-3 TBLS olive oil
2 cups minced onion
5 or more cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste

1 small bell pepper, minced
1 fresh tomatoes, chopped or stewed tomatoes

1. Cook the presoaked beans in plenty of boiling water until very tender and soft (about an hour). Drain and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion, half the garlic, cumin, and salt. Sauté over medium heat about 10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add (or don’t add) the optional bell pepper and sauté another 5 minutes. Add remaining garlic; season with black pepper.

3. Turn heat to low, add beans, optional tomatoes, and mix well. Mash with a fork or potato masher and cook for just a few minutes more.