Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bean Jazz #5, Black Eyed Peas, Mediterranean Style

For the last 10 years or so I have made a dish with black eyed peas, mustard or collard greens, onions and feta cheese. It was pretty tasty but I recently had a case of Need To Tweak Syndrome (NTTS). Most of the time when I experience the NTTS, the result is odd and maybe not so good. However, this time I thought and thought, dozed off, thought some more and came up with this tweaked version of my old standby black eyed peas recipe. I don’t know if they eat black eyed peas in the Mediterranean region, but if they did, I imagine they would be something like this...


1 lb. dried black eyed peas
2 extra large or 4 medium onions
1.5 lb. fresh spinach or 1 lb frozen spinach (more or less to taste)
2 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2/3 cup Vinaigrette or Italian dressing that you like

Step 1. Soak and cook the black eyed peas. I use the quick soak method: In a large pot, cover the beans with about two inches of water, bring to a boil for 2 minutes and turn off the heat. Leave the beans to soak for at least an hour. Drain the beans and cover with an inch of water and return to a simmer. Leave the beans on simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, until they are tender.

Step 2. While the beans are cooking, when you have about 45 minutes to go, coarsely chop the onions and sauté them in a large frying pan over high heat until they start to turn a russet (reddish brown) color, about 7-10 minutes.

Step 3. Add about half the fresh spinach to the onions and cover the pan. (If you’re using frozen spinach, you can add it all at one time.) After a few minutes, stir the shrunken spinach into the onions and add the rest of the spinach, shrink it down again for a few minutes and stir it in.

Step 4. Add the diced tomatoes and stir them in, bring to a low boil and simmer the onion, spinach and tomato mixture for about 10 minutes.

Step 5. While that is simmering, chop the walnuts. Add the walnuts and feta cheese to the mixture. Simmer for about 5 more minutes until the cheese is melted.

Step 6. Drain the cooked beans and return them to the pot. (You can also use canned beans if you like, about 3 or 4 cans ought to do it). Pour the onion, tomato, spinach, walnut and feta mixture into the beans. Serve over rice or with bread.


cheles2kids said...

Excellen blog! I'm really enjoying all the great recipes!

I'm wondering about the walnuts?
What do they bring to this dish?

Please keep the videos coming!!!


Marky said...

Thanks so much for your kind words. It's nice to know you're enjoying the blog.

I think the walnuts *make* this dish. The flavor works very well with the spinach, tomato, feta and vinaegrette, sort of like a Mediterranean salad. The crunch of the walnuts adds a wonderful texture to the dish too. I strongly encourage you to try it with walnuts. If you do, please let me know what you think. Thanks!