Monday, November 12, 2007

Black-Eyed Pea Stew and Creamy Corn Muffins

In my last post, I wrote, if a meal consists of a comforting stew and some homemade biscuits or corn bread, life is good. Well, I wasn't just trying to convince you to make my Seafood-Corn Chowder and Whole Grain Herb Biscuits (which you should!)--I really meant it. This is another meal that proves my theory.

As I was looking at my list of TBB recipes ("to be blogged"), I saw this stew and these easy corn muffins. Both recipes are from October's Cooking Light, and I tried them out a few weeks ago, but am just getting around to posting now. I've been doing a lot of cooking lately, so sometimes things get stuck in the blogging pipeline!

If you've always wanted to cook dried beans instead of popping open a can, here's your chance. It's hardly more work than straining and rinsing canned beans, as long as you allow enough time for your beans to transform from hard and dry to toothsome and creamy. If you haven't cooked dried beans before, you'll have to trust me when I tell you it's totally worth it. I don't hesitate to use canned beans in a lot of situations, but I think they taste better when I cook them myself. Actually, it's probably more of a texture than a flavor thing. Just think of canned corn versus corn freshly trimmed off the cob--both have sweet flavor, but the texture of fresh corn retains that smooth snap even when cooked in a soup or casserole.

I can't believe I just used canned corn as an example above because these tangy corn muffins actually depend on a can of creamed corn for their excellent, moist texture. It goes to show that certain foods are more suitable for some recipes than for others. I wouldn't heat up a can of creamed corn as a side dish, but it's a perfect shortcut to a healthy corn muffin. As much as I love the classic Skillet Corn Bread I usually make to go with a stew like this, the scallions, sour cream, sharp cheddar (and even the creamed corn) in this recipe appealed to me--it's important to try variations on your favorite recipes to keep things fresh, don't you think?

Below is my adaptation of the Black-Eyed Pea Stew recipe. As for the corn muffins, I didn't change a thing (except using whole wheat pastry flour instead of AP), so here is the link to the recipe on Cooking Light's website. I like to make regular size muffins, but the recipe also gives directions for making them in mini muffin tins.

By the way, this Thursday is the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau wines for 2007. I love, these light, fruity, slightly fizzy young red wines from Beaujolais region of France. Though not everyone agrees, I think the best of these wines, made from the Gamay grape, are tasty, fun and easy to drink. Check back here on Thursday for the perfect meal to go with your stash of Nouveau!!

Black-Eyed Pea Stew with Kale

Adapted from Cooking Light
Don't bother slicing the turkey sausage; just squeeze it out of the casing directly into the pot.

Serves 4 to 6

2 cups dried black-eyed peas
1/2 tbs. olive oil
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
3 spicy turkey sausages (like Jennie-O Turkey Store brand), casings removed and meat crumbled
4 cups vegetable broth (I like Swanson's)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 dried bay leaves
1 tbs. cider vinegar
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
10-12 oz. bag chopped kale, mustard or collard greens

Rinse beans and pick over. Add to a large pot and fill with water to cover by several inches. Bring to a rapid boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.

Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add sausage; cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth, raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Add peas, salt and pepper and bay leaves. Cover and reduce heat; simmer for 45 minutes. Uncover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar, tomatoes and greens. Simmer 10 minutes or until beans are tender. Taste for seasoning and serve.

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Anonymous said...

Hi I have a culinary request that I thought might be more appropriate to your blog than a normal email. I´m looking for some vegetarian recipes for thanksgiving...mostly a main dish recipe but of course a table full of side dishes might do just fine too. Do you know of any blogs or sites that have some ideas, or have you been cooking up any of your own? Just remember, I´m in Brazil and not all foods are so easy to get down here, and cranberries are pretty much impossible. Any ideas would be much appreciated!

Sara said...

Sorry...didn´t mean to make that last post anonymous. It´s your sister Sara in case the Brazil comment didn´t give me away!

Julie said...

Sara-I knew who you were from the anonymous comment:) I've got a delicious Brussels sprouts recipe I hope to post soon. You could also do it with cabbage. I have some recipes from the holidays last year that are vegetarian like my chestnut-pear stuffing which I totally love. You can make all sorts of substitutions in a dish like this to use what you have available. Also, how about a tart (search tart in my index)--they're special, substantial and open to interpretation. Technicolor Kitchen is a blog from a Brazilian gal, so check that out. she's got a really nice veg. risotto on the main page that says fall. Fat Free Vegan Kitchen has a lot of seasonal veg recipes and a collection of croquette recipes which strike me as a really nice festive food. This link to a post on the blog, A Veggie Venture, is LOADED with veg recipes for T-day. I'm so glad you asked, Sara!!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Julie just how I see dried beans vs canned! And the canned does sometimes work in some recipes better. I just did some corn muffins also. And yes even with a favorite recipe, I like to try a different recipe also. Cooking should be an adventure and that gets part of the adventure.
Would love to have made this black-eyed pea stew for my mom.

Sherry said...

I've always been afraid to even attempt to cook dried beans. My mother was not very good at it so I guess I thought there was some mysterious art to it or something. Now, I think I may have been inspired to give it a try. Thanks!