Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quintessential Southern Sides

It is southern tradition to eat black-eyed peas, for luck, and greens, for wealth, on New Year's Day. When I was growing up my mom would always make us eat at least 7 peas before we were allowed to leave the table--so we could "start off the year on at least one good week," she would say. Really though, you shouldn't find it difficult to eat 365 of these--they are wholesome, delicious and just a little bit spicy.

Black-Eyed Peas

1 lb dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight (or 1lb frozen black-eyed peas)
1 small Vidalia onion, diced
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup diced green pepper
vegetable broth
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste
In a large sauce pan, saute onions in olive oil till clear. Add peppers and saute for 2 more minutes. Add black-eyed peas, bay leaf, cayenne pepper and 1tsp salt and stir. Pour enough vegetable stock into the pot to cover the peas and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer for one to two hours or until peas are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Collard Greens
1 large bunch of collard greens (10-15 leaves)
1 red onion
5 cloves garlic
3 tbsp balsamic
2 tbsp brown sugar
olive oil
black pepper
Prepare the collard greens by washing thoroughly and cutting the leafy part off of the hard stem. You can discard the stems. Cut the collards into roughly 2 inch pieces (when I'm feeling lazy, I just rip them with my hands as I toss them into the skillet).

Slice the onion into thin strips. Pour a generous amount of olive oil into the skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cover. Roughly mince the garlic and add to onions. Allow onions to caramelize.

Add balsamic, brown sugar, dash of salt and some cracked pepper and stir. Lay the collards over the onions and cover with a lid. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes until the leaves begin to wilt, then stir everything together. Add 1/2 cup of water (or veggie stock if available) and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Collards will reduce in size significantly, this recipe serves 2-4.

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