Hoppin’ John – A Tasty Vegetarian Take on Black-Eyed Peas

(Recipe adapted by Katharine Schmidt for Ken’s Party, from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, by the Moosewood Collective)

Ingredients:

  •  500 g. (about 2-1/2 cups) dry black-eyed peas
  • About 6 cups water
  • Kombu sea vegetable or epazote (optional, see note)
  • About 4 Tbs Olive oil or butter, or a combination thereof
  • Two medium onions, to make 1-3/4 to 2 cups minced
  • 5 healthy cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, minced (Cajuns may want to substitute green or red pepper)
  • 4-5 stalks of celery, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme (fresh tastes better!), minced without thick stems
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne, or 2 fresh hot peppers, minced
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp or more of freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Tamari soy sauce (OK to use another kind, just less tasty)

Serve over cooked rice, garnish with chopped scallions, tomato, perhaps lime, parsley or cilantro.

Check black-eyed peas for pebbles, rinse them, and then soak them for several hours or overnight. Bring peas to a boil together with the optional kombu or epazote (for digestibility), and simmer until tender but not too mushy (probably half an hour to 40 minutes). If you have a pressure cooker, you can even skip the soaking. Bring the beans to full pressure, turn down the flame, and let them cook for about 30 minutes; remove from heat and allow to depressurize gradually if they start “spitting.” If not tender enough after 30 minutes, cook them under pressure on for another 5-10 minutes – just be sure there is always a reserve of liquid in the pot (at least an inch above the level of beans).

Sauté the onions in the oil and/or butter for five minutes, until they are translucent. Add carrots, celery and salt. Continue sautéing until onions are slightly brown and vegetables are tender. Add cayenne/fresh hot pepper, allspice and black pepper, and sauté another 3 minutes or so. Add thyme, and, using a slotted spoon, add beans from the pot, with enough of their liquid to keep the vegetables and beans from sticking and getting dried out.

Cook for 15-20 minutes to blend the flavors. Add tamari soy sauce, stir well, and check for taste. Add more salt, pepper, cayenne or tamari as desired. Serve with preferred garnishes over rice; this dish goes well with a salad or greens.

About six to eight servings.

Note: Kombu is a sea vegetable used in Japanese cooking, and is hard to get in Germany. Epazote is an herb used in Mexican cooking. Both help make beans more digestible; I use kombu myself.
Black-eyed peas (beans) can be brought at many Indian shops if you can’t find them in a German supermarket.

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