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“It’s all about working with what you have, then workin’ it!”

Fiesta Time

Vegetarian Black Eyed Peas

Every New Year’s my mom would serve up Black Eyed Peas for good luck. According to historians, “Many Southerners believed that the black-eyed peas symbolized coins and eating them insured economic prosperity for the coming year.”

Whether that’s hog wash or not, these little guys are tasty and a fun addition to your holiday table. Traditional Black Eyed Peas call for pork, but I like this veggie spicy recipe. Cheers!


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted and ground

1 teaspoon caraway seeds, lightly toasted and ground

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground

Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste

1 pound black-eyed peas, rinsed

2 tablespoons harissa (or more to taste; substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper if harissa is unavailable), plus additional for serving

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 1/2 pounds greens (such as Swiss chard, kale or mustard greens) stemmed, washed thoroughly in two changes water, and coarsely chopped

1 large bunch parsley or cilantro (or a combination), stemmed, washed and chopped

2 to 2 2/3 cups couscous, preferably whole wheat couscous, as needed

1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy casserole or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, ground spices and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir together for about a minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the black-eyed peas and three quarts water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add salt to taste, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add the harissa (or cayenne) and the tomato paste, and cover and simmer another 15 to 30 minutes, until the beans are tender and fragrant. Strain off 1/2 cup of the liquid and set aside.

2. Stir in the greens a handful at a time, allowing each handful to cook down a bit before adding the next. Simmer 20 minutes, until the greens are very tender and fragrant. Stir in the parsley and/or cilantro, and simmer another five minutes. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt, garlic or harissa as desired.

3. Steam couscous.

4. Transfer the couscous to a wide serving bowl or directly to wide soup plates. Spoon on the stew with a generous amount of broth and serve, passing additional harissa at the table.


Serve and enjoy!

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