Black Eyed Peas with Leek Tops and Beet Greens & Take It Home

One thing (the list is so long by now, its almost a book!) that I love about vinyl is that you don’t always know exactly what you will find when you wander into a record store, face the first bin or milk crate and start thumbing through each individual record. Minutes slip into hours and nostalgia becomes my predominant mood as album covers of years past flash in front of my eyes. Often, unless you were lucky enough to have lived through some of these album release years, you may be familiar with the artist but may not know the exact album or songs by title alone. Prolific artists in particular fit this bill. B.B. King is one of these astounding artists with 44 total albums released. He had a 50 year span in which he released his albums!

I found Take It Home from of my favorite records stores in Seattle and it happened to be one of those finds where I wasn’t sure what I would stumble across but I paused on this one. As many record collectors know, that is often all it takes before you head home with (at least) one. Caution to anyone considering collecting records, it can be addicting. (sorry, husband!) Take it Home is so enticing to listen to, B.B.’s groove and blues that are heavily tinged with pop, a rarity for B.B. Thoroughly enjoyable for dinner parties or when I’m craving music to dance and sing to. As far as B.B. albums go, this one is fairly recent, a 1998 release. It illustrates so well how he became such a legend and the King of Blues.

Certain vegetables are similar to surprise albums that I find. Not similar in that I spend hours at the grocery store combing through each vegetable but more so in that some are extremely surprising. Leek greens were the first of these surprises. I use leeks frequently at home and while I love their flavor, leek tops are harder to use. They work well in stock but I feel like they should be useable in dishes! A leek green macaroni and cheese confirmed this for me. Recipe for that here and yet, I wanted something slightly healthier. If you think of the type of greens that often go with black eyes peas, collards or mustard greens, I felt like leek tops could be an equivalent and my answer. Using beet tops help add an additional consistency.

Now for the fun part. Why does this go with Take it Home? Did you know that B.B. was a vegetarian? In addition to forgoing meat, he also had given up smoking and drinking for the later 40 years of his life according to some reports. I’ve also read that although he loved all food, he had an affinity for comfort food (like most of us). These black eyed peas simmering on the stove remind me of my time in the south, so I’d like to think that B.B, would like these also. What do you think?


Black Eyed Peas with Beet Greens

Makes 4-6 generous servings for a main course

Ingredients

  • 1 – 16 oz bag of dried black eyed peas
  • 1 Tbsp of avocado oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • leek greens from 5-6 leeks (about 2 cups), sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of cayenne
  • 1 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp of Sriracha
  • 1 tbsp of kosher salt
  • 2 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups of beet greens (substitute kale or spinach if desired), roughly diced

Instructions

  1. Quick cook the black eyed peas. In a large stock pot, pour all of the peas. Double check that there aren’t any stones or off looking peas, pick these out if you find any. Fill the stock pot with enough water that there are about 2 inches of water above the peas. Bring the peas to a bowl over a medium heat stove and boil for a few minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for at least 60 minutes. Drain the peas and return back to the stock pot.
  2. Once the peas are ready for use (after sitting for an hour), in a separate pan add the avocado oil and shallots. On a medium low heat burner, cook the shallots until starting to turn translucent. Add the garlic and leek greens. Cook 3-5 minutes until heated throughout and the leek greens are starting to get tender.
  3. Add the leek green mixture to the stock pot with the black eyed peas. Return the stock pot to a stove burner on medium (feel free to use the same one as the leeks). Add the next ten ingredients. Once the black eyed peas have reached a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes until the peas and liquid have reached a stew similar liquid to bean ratio. Add the beet greens and stir well. Cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and season with additional Sriracha or vinegar based hot sauce as desired. Top with a pulsed fresh herb mix, almost like a chermoula (see notes). Enjoy!

Notes

This recipe is a great use for any green vegetable odds and ends that you might throw into a compost bin or choose not to use – carrot tops or parsley stems finely chopped could work in here as long as you compliment it with another hearty green. When I get my CSA boxes in the summer, I save the leek greens, beet greens and turnip greens by pre chopping them and putting them in the freezer until I’m making a recipe like the one above.

If you don’t have vegetable stock, water and bouillon cubes (2 total) would help create the same depth.

Feel free to serve over brown rice, corn bread or another ancient grain like farro or quinoa for some complex carbs or to have something to soak up the delicious juices.

Fresh herb mix – 1/2 cup of parsley, 1/2 cup of cilantro, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of sesame seeds. Blend. Add in 1 glove of roughly chopped garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

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