This vegetarian version of black-eyed peas, ladled over rice, makes a healthy cold-weather meal. Ground cumin and paprika may be untraditional, but they add a smoky note to the jalapeno and vegetables. I’ve found that dried black eyed-peas become much more tender and silky than canned peas.
- 1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas, rocks and shriveled beans discarded, rinsed
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced small
- 2 medium carrots, diced small
- 3 stalks celery, diced small
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 green bell pepper, diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced, along with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of its seeds, for heat
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- Place peas in a large bowl and cover with cold water by a few inches. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain and rinse peas. Place in a 6- to 8-quart pot, and cover with fresh cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a low but constant simmer. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While peas are simmering, prepare the vegetable mixture. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute for about 7 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften and the pan is nearly dry.
- Add bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno to pan (the natural water content in the bell pepper will add moisture to the pan). Stir and saute, lowering heat a little to prevent burning if necessary, for about 3 minutes. Add cumin, paprika, thyme, and oregano, and continue cooking and stirring for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture smells spicy and the pan is mostly dry. Turn off heat and pour in a little bit of the stock to loosen any stuck-on bits; set aside.
- When peas have cooked for 45 minutes, turn off the heat, drain in a colander, and return to the pot. Add the stock, bay leaf, and the vegetable mixture to the peas, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a low, steady simmer, and simmer partially covered for one hour, until peas are almost completely tender.
- Remove cover and continue simmering for another 30 to 40 minutes, until peas are very tender and the liquid has reduced to a slightly thick, gravy-like consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Serve hot, over rice if desired.
Serves 4 to 6