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Black-Eyed Peas with Mustard Greens and Roasted Peanuts

January 03, 2011 | Tags: Deborah Madison , Food , Vegetables | Post comment

Black-Eyed Peas with Mustard Greens and Roasted Peanuts

Black-eyed peas and greens, a traditional welcome for the New Year, express a wish for wealth—the peas representing coins, the greens, greenbacks. Whether one’s wealth arrives as cash, it’s already present in this warming bowl with its topping of roasted peanuts. Not just for New Years, this is a dish that’s good to eat all winter long.

Pork is a usual accompaniment to black-eyed peas and other pulses—a ham hock, bacon, even a chop might be included. This version has none, but it does have smokiness from Spanish smoked paprika. If you prefer to use bacon, my suggestion is to snip a strip into pieces, fry until crisp, then continue with the recipe, with or without the smoked paprika, adding the cooked bacon back at the end. Alternatively, use Canadian bacon and add it while the beans are cooking.

As for the peas, used dried, if possible, rather than canned, though that will do in the pinch (you’ll need two cans and not as much water.) There’s a new product —frozen, but cooked organic black-eyed peas – which is very good. There are 3 cups to a package, which makes enough for just four servings, no seconds. You might want to double up!


1 cup dried black-eyed peas
4 teaspoons roasted peanut oil* or sunflower seed oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced (1/2 cup or more) plus any leaves
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
1 quart water
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne
Mustard Greens (below)
¼ cup salted peanuts


1.  Pour hot water over the dried peas and let them soak while you go onto the next step.

2. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, green pepper, celery, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the, garlic, allspice, and smoked paprika and cook a few minutes more. Drain the peas and add them to the pot followed by the water. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, for 40 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons salt and cook 20 minutes more or until the peas are tender. Add the cayenne. Taste for salt and season with pepper.  (If using canned peas, use just enough water to thin them to the texture of soup and of course, you needn’t cook them as long.)

3.  Cook the mustard greens, as described below. Divide the peas among four bowls, add mustard greens to each, then garnish with the roasted peanuts.

Mustard Greens
1 bunch mustard greens
1 to 2 teaspoons roasted peanut oil*
Slice the mustard greens off their central stems, tear them into large pieces and rinse.  Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a wide pot, add the greens and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. (Winter mustard greens seem to take less time than those grown in summer.)  Drain them well then toss with the peanut oil and salt, to taste.

Serves 4

*Roasted Peanut Oil
Here’s a wonderful ingredient—an oil that smells of roasted peanuts!  It is made by an American company, Loriva, and I’ve been a fan forever. A little goes a long way to add big, rich flavors to those stir-fries and greens that normally call for pork or other meats. Its flavor makes up for the loss of those meaty flavors if you’re vegetarian, and if you’re not vegetarian, it simply adds to the dish. This might be an interesting oil to add to your repertoire for 2011.