Monday, December 28, 2009

Black-eyed Peas for Luck (and Health) in 2010

It's an old-South tradition to eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day, for luck, and therefore you can occasionally find fresh black-eyed peas around this time of year. I've seen it at Keller's IGA in Clifton some years--haven't looked yet for this New Year's Day meal.
Even if you must use frozen peas, try this recipe for NY Day. We like to have it with steamed rice and crusty bread.

Recipe: Black-eyed Peas with Fennel and Tomato
(Serves 6)

Two 10-ounced packages frozen black-eyed peas, thawed -- or an equivalent amount of fresh peas
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 fennel bulbs--halved, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
3/4 pounds Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves cut into 1/2-inch dice (Note: you can substitute spinach or another dark green, such as collards)
1 large tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook the peas in boiling water until just tended, about 10 minutes. Drain well.
Heat 2 T of the oil in the same pan. Add the fennel, onion and fennel seeds, cooking over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Add the peas, Swiss chard or other greens, tomatoes and water.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover partially and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, about 20 minutes.
Transfer to a deep bowl and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

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