Saturday, July 23, 2011

New Sites, New Beans

Ryan and I roasted a chicken the other week and I decided to use the leftovers to make crock-pot-chicken-stock.  I figured several generations of Waacks, Thompsons, Millers, and Wegworths were rolling over in their graves every time we throw out a chicken carcass. Of course I had to figure out how to do so beforehand.  My search led me to this lovely blog, Nourishing Days. I encourage you to check it out.

Other than onions, I didn't have any vegetables on hand.  Nor did I have any fresh herbs, so I substituted with dry.  It still turned out mighty delicious.  I cooked up some lentils and bulgar with it.  The flavor was so rich, I was almost happy just eating that for supper.  I used the rest of the stock to make Louisiana style red-beans.  We had a bag on hand and this was my first time cooking with them.  Finding this recipe landed me at several sites that involved large quantities of bacon, ham, and sausage.  Quite traditional, but I really wasn't interested in something that fatty.  Thankfully, by revising my search I landed at Fat Free Vegan another great Blog that I've added to my queue.  The beans came out delicious, and not too heavy.  Instead of rice, I served them over quinoa.  However, I do believe next time I will invest in the liquid smoke, or just deal with the extra pork products and try Emeril's recipe.   I am also discovering that beans turn out best when soaked over-night. Yes the 2 hour quick soak method works well, but they do not get as soft and breakdown as easily as when soaked for a good 8-12 hours.
Red Beans over Quinoa, Salad with Walnuts & Bleu Cheese
Today I'm tackling black-eyed peas.  Even though I've been in Georgia for 2+ years, I can't say I've really eaten any black-eyed peas(BEP) yet.  BEP are not indigenous to the united states.  They were brought here from Africa during the slave trading days which started in the mid 1500s.  They are also found around the globe in Portugal, Greece, and even vietnam.  During Rash Hashanah, the Jewish New Year; they are eaten as a symbol of good luck since they swell when cooked.  Interestingly, a large sect of Jews settled in Georgia during the 1730's and helped initiate them into what is now considered traditional southern cooking.  The 1700s is also when the slave trade really took hold in the United States and began moving northward from Florida and the Carolinas up into Virginia.  During the Civil War, Union troops led by General Sherman plundered their way through the South; destroying everything except...field corn and BEP which they thought were only used as animal feed.  Little did they know, BEP are high in calcium, Vitamins A & K, Folate and Potassium.  1 cup of cooked beans contains: 160kcal, 1g fat, 34g carb, 8g fiber, 5g protein.  Of course, that is when they are cooked without fatback, ham, or bacon...

Southern BEP
1. Soak 2 cups black eyed peas overnight.  Simmer for 1.5 hours or until tender.  Drain beans.

2. In a large pot add beans, 3 cups low sodium chicken stock, 1 smoked ham-hock, 1 onion diced, 4 cloves garlic finely chopped, 2 bay leaves, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer 45-60 minutes.  Serve with hot pepper sauce.