I have to admit I was very surprised when I walked into a Whole Foods two days ago and found the black-eyed peas bin totally empty. Granted, this was the norm when I lived in Texas, but Portland? I guess there are more Southerners living here than I imagined.
For those of you who don’t know this, eating black-eyed peas, in some cases, 365 individual beans, on New Year’s Day is good luck. Honestly, there are about a zillion stories floating around the Internet professing the luckiness of these beans. Serve it with collard greens (money) and cornbread (gold) and you’ll start your year with a belly full of tasty luck.
For whatever reason, when I lived in Austin, I never really followed the tradition. Back in those days, I wasn’t quite (read: not at all) as adventurous with food as I am now. Especially Southern food. Too heavy, too greasy, and too fried. I realize that black-eyed peas don’t really fall into any of those categories, but I was resistant just the same. I think maybe they just looked odd to me.
This year, however, I decided to make black-eyed peas and collard greens in homage to my Texas brethren. No, I’m not Texan by birth, (we can’t all be that lucky) but after living there for five years a part of my heart will always be in Austin. Texas was good to me, and the only way to understand it, is to experience it.
So cheers to all the Southerners and Texans out there eating black-eyed peas on this magnificent New Year’s Day!
What you’ll need~
1 large shallot, sliced
1 pound cremini and shiitake mushrooms, washed, stems removed, and sliced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
A splash or two dry Sherry
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 pounds black-eyed peas cooked, or two cans
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 pound peppered bacon, sliced into chunks
1 bunch fresh collard greens, chopped and blanched for 3 minutes
2 cups wild rice, cooked.
Warm your oil over medium heat in a large skillet or saucepan. Add shallots and mushroom and sauté until they start to brown and soften. About 5 minutes.
Add broth, diced tomatoes, wine, sherry, beans and bacon and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
While your stew is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add collard greens and let blanch for about 3 minutes. Drain greens well and stir into your stew.
Let stew simmer for another 5-10 minutes, add wild rice and serve warm. With cornbread, of course.