Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Easy, Warming Black Eyed Peas by Andrea Lussing

Reposted with permission by Andrea Lussing

The weather is most definitely changing.  I'm disappointed to admit that I'm seeking warmth these days- warm sweaters, wool socks, hot baths and now a hot soupy bean stew.  This creation is verging on chili, but has a totally different, Thanksgiving inspired flavour and I've used dried organic black eyed peas versus canned beans that I usually use for chili.  Even with the dried peas, it was ready in about an hour.

You can see from the photo that I often make more than I should for just one person, but it's great to have something healthy and satisfying to take for lunches and eat for dinners for a few nights in a row and not have to worry about cooking... though I think it's safe to say that I never 'worry' about cooking.  Maybe that will change when I have a whole family to feed every night of the week.

So, for this meal I used dried organic black eyed peas.  I rinsed them and tossed about 2 cups of dried peas into plenty of unsalted water and brought it all to a boil and boiled for about 10 min.  At the same time, in a large soup pot, I used what was in my fridge as a veggie base. You could mix it up with any veggies you have, but I cut up one onion and sauteed it on med. heat until soft, then tossed in a few cloves of minced garlic and 4 peeled and finely cubed carrots.  After the carrots and garlic were on the stove for about 5 minutes, I cubed 3 green tomatoes and let those saute too.  I would have put in a pepper or two, maybe some celery or even zucchini or kale, but this is what I had! Be creative!

I added veggie stock cubes (about 4), 5 bay leaves, about a tablespoon of dried thyme, oregano and rosemary to the sauteing veggies. I'd chop up the rosemary sprigs cause they can be a little bitter and tough if you chew down on them.  Fresh herbs would be great, but I used all mine up for my Thanksgiving creations. I drained the water from the beans in the first pot and rinsed them off and then tossed them into my larger pot with the veggies and spices.  Then I added enough water to cover the beans by a few centimeters.  I let that simmer for about 45 min. and then everything seemed to be soft!  I added a large can of diced tomatoes to add a little sweetness and freshness at the end and served the whole thing with lots of real Parmesan cheese.  You could add salt but I found that it didn't need it.

This was a very casual, roughly made dinner that worked out really well.  My parents stopped in last night for a cup of tea and I 'encouraged' them to taste it and they enjoyed it.  I also got a few "that looks delicious" comments at the lunch table at work today which is always a good sign.  I'd say be loose with this, create a consistency that you want, play around with some flavourings and enjoy the goodness of healthy black eyed peas!

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