An American tradition, specifically amongst Black folks, is to eat Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens. Since I am of mixed heritage (African-American, and allegedly Italian), and because I don’t particularly like the smell of collards cooking, here’s my recipe:
Rappini and Black Eyed Peas
16 oz dried black eyed peas
10 cups of water
1/2 bottle of champagne
one box of Thai stock
one teaspoon of cumin
one teaspoon thyme
one teaspoon madrass curry powder
1/2 pound of bacon
two stalks of celery
one bulb shallot
5 garlic cloves
one large onion
flat leaf parsley
1 bunch rappini (broccolini) chopped
Get a sheet pan and put in the metal cooling rack in it. Lay out the bacon and place in the oven. Turn the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not preheat. You are cooking the bacon and rendering the fat and you need to save the fat. Yes. I know. Bad for you. Here’s the deal, it isn’t a huge amount of fat and rather than starting the year with a call to the plumber when hot bacon grease hits your cold pipes, why not use it to add a little flavor?
While the bacon is rendering, sort your beans and put them in a pot with the 10 cups of water and bring it to a boil for 2 minutes, then cover the pot, turn off the heat and let the beans sit for one hour.
Dice your carrots, onion, celery, shallots and garlic. pick the leaves off the parsley, then finely chop the stems and place them with the celery. Roll the leaves tightly and slice them finely. This is called chiffonade.
Take your bacon off the cooling rack and let it cool down, then dice it to about the same size as you diced your mire poix. Get a silicon spatula and get that bacon fat into a large casserole pot, preferably enamelled cast iron, and heat to medium high.
Reserve a quarter cup of the bacon fat.
Put in your onion, carrots, celery, parsley stems and sautee until your onions are a little brown. Add your sliced garlic, shallots, thyme, curry powder, and pepper. Sautee until the garlic is soft. Don’t burn the garlic or it will ruin your dish. Add the rappini and cook until it wilts. Drain and rinse your beans. Add them to your casserole along with half of your bacon. De-glaze the pan with the left over half bottle of champagne.
Add your Thai stock to the casserole and enough water to cover the beans. Cover with the lid and simmer for one hour.
At about the 45 minute mark, in a sautee pan, add a quarter cup of flour to a medium high pan and whisk the flour gently until you start to smell it toast and color to a light beige. Add the bacon fat and whisk until smooth.
That’s a roux.
Add that to your casserole and let your beans simmer for the last 10 minutes. The roux will thicken the beans.
Add salt to taste now. Adding it earlier in the cooking process will toughen the beans.
Plate your beans with some of the bacon, some of the parsley chiffonade and some creme fraiche, or quark, or…
if you have cream cheese and whole milk, combine equal parts and blend until it forms a foam and spoon over the top.