We sprang out of bed at the crack of mid-morning today, and after a strong cup of coffee, I got started on the traditional new year’s day meal of black-eyed peas and greens (turnip, this year).
Carefully sorting through the beans, I searched for rocks and discarded the misshapen beans, then chopped the other ingredients according to my all-time favorite recipe from The Prudhomme Family Cookbook.
The greens are more intuitive. I never make them the same way twice, but they always start with stemming, chopping and a vigorous washing before I even think of cooking them.
This time around, I chopped the 1/4 pound of tasso leftover from the beans and halved a small piece of salt pork, then covered the meat with water in a large pot. I brought it to a boil, then lowered the heat to simmer for about 30 minutes to create a flavorful cooking liquid for the greens. At that point, I added some chopped onions, cayenne pepper, a little bit of salt and the greens. They simmered for about 20 minutes, though you can certainly cook them longer; I just prefer greens when they have a little bit of bite to them.
I cooked the beans at a lower temperature than usual, so they were more of a soup than side dish, but still just as delicious as I remember from last year. The greens held their own when topped with cider vinegar, so I thought an extra helping couldn’t hurt, especially in these tough economic times. Call it an edible insurance policy.
Thank you for visiting last year, keeping up with my infrequent food and Rufus postings. I’ve loved hearing from everyone and wish y’all a happy and safe 2009, filled with friends and food and many, many naps.
recipe after the jump
The Prudhomme Familyâ€™s Black-Eyed Peas
1 lb. dried black eyed peas, rinsed
2 quarts plus 1 1/2 cups chicken or pork stock
1/2 lb. slab bacon, diced
1/4 lb. tasso (or 2 smoked ham hocks)
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
black and cayenne pepper to taste
Put all ingredients except salt and pepper into a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, place lid on pot and continue boiling, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Lower heat and simmer with lid askew for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and more often toward end of cooking time to keep beans from sticking.*
Add salt and pepper and continue simmering beans for another 30 minutes with lid askew, stirring often. Remove lid and cook for 10 minutes, or until beans are creamy.
* If beans do stick, donâ€™t stir them. Just transfer them to another pot to continue cooking, leaving the burnt bits in the old pot.