From Dish Amelia:
It’s that time when girls from the South (or Southwest, as it were) get pretty excited about making blackeyed peas, and forcing the eating of them on everyone we love. Or actually anyone else we encounter, just to be safe. Eating the BEP’s every year on New Years day is good luck, and we will take all the help we can get! My friend (and sometimes Guest Dish) Jessie is from Alabama, and knows all about how important this is. She also practices the collards tradition, which are eaten to bring money and prosperity, so we got together to make it happen. According to the outcome, I think we really have a good shot at 2010.
THE BLACKEYED PEAS
1 bag of dry BEP’s soaked overnight, + 2 cans-worth.
1 pack of prosciutto
1/2 a package of bacon, cut crosswise (if you are vegetarian or kosher, you should use olive oil)
1 chopped onion
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
some white wine
some water or stock to nearly cover
some rice vinegar – I like brown rice vinegar
a pint of frozen organic New Mexican green chile (what – you don’t have that?) or use dried and reconstituted green chiles, or canned green chiles or roasted, peeled and seeded fresh New Mexican green chiles
a bay leaf
Drain soaking and canned peas. In a heavy pot with a lid, cook the bacon (or add your fat) until just the edges get crispy. Add the onions and garlic and saute until slightly softened. Add prosciutto till it gently curls up among the onion pieces. Add the peas and nearly cover with water, stock, a few glugs of white wine, and a splash of vinegar. Tuck in the bay leaf. Cover pot and keep on fairly high heat (it will boil) for about 15-20 minutes. turn down heat slightly, and add green chile and S&P. Continue to simmer uncovered for 15-30 minutes more and taste here and there to make adjustments as needed.
THE COLLARD GREENS
3 bunches of small collard greens or 1-2 bunches of giant collard greens
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 a package of bacon, cut crosswise
a few pieces of prosciutto
a few brief pours of cider vinegar
a few large pinches of brown sugar
2 tsp or more chili paste or Sriracha
red pepper flakes
1 pinch ground ginger
This seems like quite a similar recipe as above, but lots of rituals have similarities. This recipe is quicker and yields less that the BEPs. Wash the collards well, take out the ribs and cut into inch-wide ribbons. In a large straight sided saute pan cook the bacon and prosciutto and add the onions and garlic. Add the liquids and the spices. Cover and let the greens wilt and absorb those beautiful ingredients. If it starts to dry up, add more of all of the liquids, or keep adding water as it reduces and the flavors concentrate, and be sure to taste. The liquid in the pan is called the Potlikker, and is equally as important as the greens. The dish should be the perfect balance between salty, sweet and hot. (My stepmom and southern cook Jan Brooks told this to me once when coaching collards over the phone, and it helps to keep it in mind as you taste what you have).
Jessie made cornbread (baked perfectly in a cast iron pan). I don’t know what recipe she used, but you’ll find one. We eat out of a bowl with cornbread on the bottom and everything else on top. If we’re lucky we’ll have a prosperous, healthy, and happy year. Here’s to a saucy 2010!!