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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Black-Eyed Pea Stew

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I've mentioned Ryan's southern roots before, when I posted the okra fries we were obsessed with all summer. Like okra, Ryan also had a love for black-eyed peas. I had never tried black-eyed peas until I met Ryan, and his dad made Hoppin' John for us one New Year's Day. Traditionally, Hoppin' John is made with greens and bacon and is thought to bring prosperity in the New Year.

This year, I picked up a few cans of black-eyed peas to ensure us some good luck in 2011, but we ended up with such an abundance of leftover NYE appetizers (hummus, peanut butter apple dip, potato nachos, and Life cereal mix, to name a few!), that the black-eyed peas got shoved aside.

Will you still have good luck in the year ahead if you don't eat your black-eyed peas until mid-January? We shall see, I suppose...

All luck and prosperity aside, this dish turned out really well! The original Mark Bittman recipe I found online didn't call for black-eyed peas...or bacon...or spinach, and yet I managed to make my own beans & greens stew that was more than satisfactory! If you're a vegetarian you can omit the bacon, but I liked the smoky flavor it added. Another healthy Winter recipe--who says comfort foods have to be heavy and indulgent?!

One Year Ago: Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

Black-Eyed Pea Stew
inspired by Mark Bittman

-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 small onion, diced
-2 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
-1 can diced tomatoes, liquid included
-1/4 cup water
-2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
-1/2 cup bulgur
-1/4 tsp chili powder
-salt & pepper
-1 (9 oz.) package spinach
-cooked and crumbled bacon, for topping (optional)

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion in oil until softened, approximately 5 minutes.
2. Add black-eyed peas, tomatoes, water, rosemary, bulgur, and chili powder. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Add spinach in batches, allowing to wilt before adding more, until the entire package has been added.
4. Divide between bowls and top with bacon, if desired.