Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Years Day 2008

We had a simple celebration of New Year's day. Vince and Gayle, and Steve and Ellen came over. Starting with tea and Christmas cake at 5, moving on to dinner of b;ack eyed peas and a French salad, finishing with a plate of cheese (Lincolnshire Poacher, Stilton, Brie and Manchego) and a bottle of port. This was an excuse to use the new crock pot for the first time. We are now all feeling incredibly lucky for 2008.
The vinegar in the recipe is to keep the contents slightly acidic (hardly noticeable in the finished dish) but it does keep the black eyed peas from going mushy or gummy. According to Alton Brown (and Shirley Corriher), acid in legumes is a good way to ensure that the legumes retain their texture even when cooked for a long time. Hence the use of molasses in Boston baked beans.

Black Eyed Peas
2 12 Oz packets fresh black eyed peas
2 8 oz ham hocks
4 Oz bacon, fried crisp
2 medium red onions sliced (not chopped or minced)
4 cloves garlic (sliced thinly)
1 Bay leaf
3 Cups water
2 Dried cayenne peppers
1t Cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro for garnish

Place black eyed peas in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. Meanwhile in the crockpot place the onions, ham hocks, garlic, salt, pepper, cayennes and bayleaf and 3 cups of water. Bring the crock pot to a high setting and leave on high until the beans have finished simmering.
Stir the beans (without the cooking liquid) into the crockpot and add the vinegar, leave on high until bubbles start to form on the surface. Stir the contents and cook in the crockpot on then turn to low and simmer for 7-9 hours. Once cooked through, shred the meat off the hock bones, discard the bones and serve, garnished with shredded cilantro leaves..

We have some small (12 oz size) individual Staub enamelled cast iron bowls, with lids. They are idea for this kind of dish because they can safely be heated in the oven ubtil they are really hot. They then manage to keep the individual servings piping hot - just what is needed on a raw winter evening.

1 comment:

AnneL said...

today i made the best cassoulet EVER! white beans, soaked for about 24 hours with 3 changes of water. very fresh - they hydrated like fresh beans. onion, garlic (lots) carrot, lamb stew meat (read neck) veal stew meat (also neck) a smoked hock and a chourico. homemade chicken stock. 400 degree oven for about 2 hours. sublime. not traditional, but what the hell. i thought of adding tomato paste, then decided against it - and i was right. oh - and fresh thyme as well. also parsley.