Learning As I Chop

Black-Eyed Peas (the Food Not the Band)

Posted in Baking/Cooking, Holiday by R @ Learning As I Chop on January 1, 2011

Ever since H told me that it’s auspicious to eat black-eyed peas on New Years Day, I was determined to cook them. So a few days ago I prepared by searching for a dish and found this one from Epicurious.

Chicken Fricassée with Black-Eyed Peas and Spinach Gourmet | January 1998

This dish is wonderful served with mashed potatoes.

Yield: Serves 4

ingredients

1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
10 ounces white mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup dry Sherry
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 pound spinach
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

preparation

Quick-soak black-eyed peas.

Chop onion and mince garlic. Cut mushrooms into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

In a 4-quart heavy kettle cook onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened. Add mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are tender and liquid from mushrooms is evaporated. Stir in Sherry and simmer 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a bowl.

Pat chicken dry and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In kettle heat remaining tablespoon oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and cook chicken, stirring, until browned. Add flour, stirring to coat chicken evenly. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring. Stir in mushroom mixture and peas and simmer, covered, 20 minutes, or until peas are tender.

While mixture is simmering, discard coarse stems from spinach and cut leaves crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips.

Stir spinach, cream, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste into fricassee and simmer, stirring, 2 minutes.

For those who don’t know (me until a few hours ago), a fricassee is “is a catch-all term used to describe a stewed dish typically made with poultry, but other types of white meat (like veal, rabbit or guinea pig) can be substituted.” More information can be found here.

After a great breakfast at our favorite greasy-spoon, H and I ventured to the market and searched the aisle for black-eyed peas. Much to our (ok, mostly my) chagrin, they were nowhere to be found. And then I saw these

A surge of ingenuity, and a stubborn affinity towards superstition, prompted me to declare that I would sift through the mix and separate the peas. Can you see them?

After an exercise of patience and attention, I managed to amass a small pile and soaked them for a few hours

The rest of the recipe was pretty straight-forward and easy. Besides the heavy cream, this dish is pretty healthy – no butter, spinach, a bit of olive oil. So we needed to comfort-it-up and create a nest of H’s famous potatoes

You can see the finished project above. Spot the peas? All in all, this dish was just ok. I probably won’t make it again, but it’s definitely good for someone who likes mustard-based sauces and/or needs a vehicle for their peas. I made sure we ate ours. Happy New Year! I hope 2011 is a great year for you. Enjoy!

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