Black-Eyed Pea Salad

June 4, 2013

Black-Eyed Pea Salad - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

I’m kind of a salad fanatic, and it’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about having warm weather finally! So far I’ve made this pasta salad, several quinoa salads, including this one and this (which is one of my favorites), and I can’t wait to make potato salads, especially this one. Platter salads are another favorite for us, and we’ve already had my favorite Cobb salad, even when it wasn’t that warm yet. I couldn’t wait.

This is a salad that has become kind of a summer standard here over the past few years. When my son was an infant and I was stuck to the couch for hours on end either nursing him or “napping” with him, I would watch endless amounts of TV, a lot of that being the Food Network. I’ve always liked cooking, but I think that’s when I really got my love of cooking, and I would try out tons of the recipes I saw on TV. This was one of them, on “The Neely’s” (a show I didn’t often watch, by the way, but I’m glad I caught this episode). I don’t really ever watch Food Network anymore, but I’m glad I did because a lot of my standard recipes came from that year of watching.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Ingredients
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar (I have also used white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained (or 4 cups soaked dried beans…I think that’s about a cup and a half of dried)

Directions
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the rice wine vinegar, canola oil, sugar, and salt and pepper.
Toss all together and let marinate for at up to 8 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

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Aunt Suzy says . . .

Years ago I learned about securing good fortune and prosperity for the coming year by what you eat on New Year’s Day – specifically black-eyed peas, cooked greens and cornbread.  This good luck menu is from the Southern U. S., although I have learned from Wikipedia that eating black-eyed peas for New Year’s can be traced back to ancient times as a Jewish tradition on Rosh Hashana.  The significance of each item as I learned it, although there are many interpretations – all for good luck or good fortune:

Black-eyed peas – one day of good luck for each pea eaten

Collard greens – green for money/prosperity

Corn bread – for gold in your pocket

Some people add pork to the menu for living “high off the hog”.  Following is a recipe for the way we make black-eyed peas for New Year’s.  For some reason, we always do a vegetarian version for this occasion.  We also have recipes on the blog for black-eyeds with sausagegreens and corn bread.  Happy New Year and wishing you much luck and prosperity!

New Year’s Day Black-eyed Peas

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, diced

1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced

1 small or 1/2 large green bell pepper, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups dried black-eyed peas

4-5 cups liquid*

2 bay leaves

1-2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 chipote pepper in adobo, rinsed and minced (optional)

1-2 dried red pepper pods (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste.

Lightly coat a large dutch oven or soup pot with the vegetable oil (I use canola).  Saute the onion and bell peppers for about 3 minutes until beginning to soften.  Add the garlic and saute another minute until fragrant. If using the chipotle pepper (for smokiness and heat), add at the same time as the garlic.

Add the *liquid.  For vegetarian use water, water with mock chicken broth powder or Better than Boullion (our favorite) or vegetable broth.  Or you can use chicken stock for the liquid.  Rinse and pick over the black-eyed peas and then add to the pot.  Add the bay leaves, thyme and red pepper pods, if using, then salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 45 -75 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on many things.  Check after 30 minutes to test degree of doneness, then every 15 minutes thereafter. They should be firm and creamy but not falling apart.  Serve on their own or over rice.

Aunt Suzy says . . . .

I did not grow up eating black-eyed peas, but am glad to have learned about them from friends who grew up in the South!  Black-eyed peas are packed with nutrients – high in potassium, iron, protein and fiber – and as an added bonus they have a delicious taste and meaty texture.  “Peas” is a misnomer since they are actually legumes related to the mung bean.   They are a Southern staple, but you don’t need to be from the South to enjoy them.  Many Southern-style recipes use smoked ham-hocks, a ham bone or  piece of ham to add flavor.  This one gets its smokiness from Andouille sausage.

I find it interesting that these legumes are thought to have originated in Asia (although they likely came to the U.S. from Africa).  In our local Vietnamese restaurants they are offered in sweet drinks and desserts – quite a departure from the savory dishes we’re used to!

Cook’s notes: The specified amounts in this recipe make a lot – a little under 3 quarts of finished product.  I make this large amount because they freeze really well, and I always feel that if I’m going to go to the effort, I might as well make a bunch.  You can cut these quantities in half to serve 6-8 people as a side dish, 4-6 people as a main dish served with rice.  This is great with dried peas, but if you can find fresh, even better.  I used chicken Andouille sausage, which is readily available at co-ops in the Twin Cities from Larry Schultz Organic Farm and at Trader Joe’s elsewhere.

4 cups dried black-eyed peas (unless you are lucky enough to have fresh, then use 7-8 cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 onions, diced

2 celery stalks, sliced

2-4 cloves garlic (depending on size and your taste)

2 andouille sausages, split and sliced into half-moons

6-7 cups chicken stock or water (stock recommended but not essential)

3-4 red chile peppers or 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional – the sausage has a little heat already)

3-4 sprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

3-4 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

If using dried black-eyed peas, pick out the ones that don’t look so good and rinse.  Place in a large pot and add water to cover the peas by 3 inches.  Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.  Let sit for 15 minutes then drain and set aside.

Coat the bottom of a large dutch oven or soup pot with the olive oil.  Bring heat to medium-high.  Add the onions and celery and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add the sausage and saute another 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute another  minute or two until fragrant.  Add half the liquid and then the peas.  Add more liquid until the peas are just covered.  Add the chile peppers, thyme and bay leaves.

Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer covered for about 60 minutes if using dried peas. Start checking doneness after 30 minutes to prevent overcooking.  If you want less liquid when done, cook the last 15 minutes with the lid off.  For fresh peas, the cooking time will be 30-45 minutes.

Before serving, remove the thyme sprigs, bay leaves and chile peppers. Serve in bowls as a side or over rice as a main dish.  Always good with cornbread!