I'm starting to get a little excited, perhaps even falling a bit in love, again with autumn eating. I don't know if it's the change in temperature or the much needed rain, but all of a sudden I'm getting turned on by squash and sweet potatoes and magical things cooked in a crock pot. It's a positive thing right, that as each season arrives I greet it with complete conviction that it is in fact my absolute favorite time of the year for cooking and eating?
The boys have been requesting pancakes and I had a brilliant plan for how to make all of us happy with minimal effort: breakfast for dinner for them, beans & greens for me. I started by broiling some nice thick-cut bacon to put on the side of their pancakes, reserving 3 slices for my own use. I placed a small amount of olive oil in a deep pot (to avoid too much splatter) and got about 5 or 6 chopped cloves of garlic gently turning light brown. I then added the bacon, which was coarsely cut into approximately 1" pieces. As the garlic and bacon were turning my kitchen into an orgy of delicious fragrance, I rinsed the broccoli rabe and chopped it up a bit, leaving the greens fairly sizable but not unmanageable. My garlicky-bacon combo was on the verge of becoming stuck to the bottom of the pan - perfect. I poured in a box of low-sodium chicken broth and deglazed the pan, loosening up all that deliciousness and turned the heat to medium low. Just a note about the boxed chicken broth - I have quarts of homemade stock in the freezer, but saw no reason to use one of my own intense broths when I really wanted the chicken flavor to be far in the background. Risotto season is around the corner and it will be much better put to use then. The broccoli rabe went in and I let the flavors mingle and get to know one another for about 10 minutes. This would be a great time to toss in any hard cheese ends that you may have laying around for an additional layer of flavor. The last thing to do is rinse a couple of cans of cannellini beans and add them to your pot to warm through. For seasoning, I added a generous amount of crushed red pepper flakes - salt was completely unnecessary with the bacon present, in my opinion. Ladle into a bowl and finish with some grated cheese. Start to finish - no more than 25 minutes. Faster than a cup of coffee with a blind date and way more satisfying.