Happy 2011, everyone! Carnival season is well underway. About 5 weeks left til Mardi Gras. Our garage has undergone an intense cleaning. Arcade Fire will be at Jazzfest. We're going to try a small garden. It's shaping up to be a great year.
We were in Oklahoma over New Year's, and didn't get a chance to make our standard black-eyed-pea and greens feast that we've enjoyed since moving here...but here's a simple recipe for some down-home greens 'n peas that'll fit the winter soup bill and sneak in some luck before January's out.
Hoppin' John is not what this is. That's a Southern dish of black-eyed peas, ham hock, and rice, with maybe some veggies stewed in with the peas and ham. I just stole the name and went more for a soup, with a lot more vegetable action, and sausage instead of ham. Meat isn't essential here, though. Most of the flavor comes from the greens.
I've become partial to soaking dried black-eyed peas and cooking them from scratch; they become so tender and pillowy that I don't think canned peas will ever satisfy me again. I'd eat them, but I'd be sad.
- 1 lb. dried black-eyed peas, soaked for 6 hours in water and drained
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, half the seeds taken out and minced along with the green part (this made it really spicy! Decrease if you like)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups (give or take) chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 large bunch collard greens, chopped into wide ribbons
- 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- few good shakes of Tabasco
- salt and pepper
- Put the drained peas in a large pot and cover with water by about 2 inches. Add the bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours, until beans are tender but not mushy. Skim foam off the top of the water from time to time. The peas should be pleasantly soft when you test them. Drain and set aside til later.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot (about 8 quarts). Saute the andouille until browned and starting to stick to the pot a little. Remove to a bowl or plate and set aside.
- In the same pot, add a little more oil if necessary and saute the onion, bell pepper, and celery for about 5 minutes, until starting to soften.
- Add the jalapeno and garlic and saute for a minute. Things will be getting pretty dry and sticky.
- Pour in the stock, and add the greens and tomatoes. Stir everything up and bring to a quick simmer. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes (or you could let it go up to an hour), until the greens are very tender.
- Add Worcestershire, vinegar, Tabasco, and the reserved black-eyed peas. Let simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes to blend flavors.
- Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. I added about 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon pepper to start with, and I think I increased the salt a little bit after that.
Makes a generous 8 servings. You can steam up some rice to ladle this over, or just dunk some good bread in the broth. It's a bone-warming sinus clearer.