Compared to its fellow legumes, black-eyed peas (sometimes called black-eyed beans) are somewhat unsung in the UK, and no that's not a reference to the pop group! It's a real shame as black-eyed peas are high in nutrition, especially Calcium and Vitamin A, add a healthy dose of nitrogen to the soil they're grown in and, most importantly, are utterly delicious, with a nutty taste and bite that works well in a variety of dishes…
Now widely available in the UK supermarkets, canned or dried, black-eyed peas are praised around the globe. Their versatility sees them used in a huge range of dishes, including in a toothsome Vietnamese dessert alongside sticky rice and coconut milk, as the base in a range of tasty Indian daals, and even mashed and deep-fried as the Brazilian equivalent of falafel.
But today we're going to turn our attention to the American south, for a Simple Things-style take on a classic, oh-so tasty dish that's perfect for a Winter's evening: Hoppin' John.
This easy to prepare, hearty and warming meal sees black-eyed peas teamed with one of our favourite Winter vegetables, curly kale, which substitutes for the original version's collard greens, as they're a little scarce on this side of the Atlantic! Hoppin' John is traditionally served on New Year's Day, for good luck, but it's so tasty that it'll become a year-round favourite – it also batch freezes very well indeed...
Hoppin' John, Simple Things style
- 200g smoked pancetta, cubed
- 500g passata
- 1 large handful kale, chopped
- 1 can of black-eyed peas, drained
- 1 large pepper, diced to 1cm
- 1 large onion, diced to 1cm
- 1 handful coriander, finely-chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely-chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 chili, finely-chopped
- 1/2 vegetable stock cube
- 1/2 glass red wine
- Olive oil
- Fry the cubed pancetta in a olive oil until it starts to brown.
- Add the chopped pepper, red onion and chili until they soften.
- Add the garlic and bay leaves, then the red wine and the veg stock cube (dissolved in a little hot water).
- Add the passata, black-eyed peas and half of the coriander.
- Bring to a simmer, add the kale, cover and simmer for an hour.
- Remove the bay leaves, turn off the heat and add the rest of the coriander.
- Serve over long grain rice, topped with grated cheese and sour cream, if you wish.
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