Saturday, September 19, 2009

Black Eyed Peas & Spinach

When I think of black-eyed peas, I'm more likely to think they're fergalicious rather than a delicious Greek dish. I like being proven wrong though, and this saucy combo of beans & spinach became one of my favorite dishes while in Greece. As someone who regularly cooks Italian-style tomato sauce with basil, adding dill to this sauce was a springy, aromatic treat! You can serve this dish on its own with a pita or rice accompaniment, or you can make it part of a larger Greek vegetable spread.

The Whats:

* 1 cup dried black-eyed peas (or to save time, use 2 cans; drain & rinse peas)
* 1/2 large onion, diced
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 4 or 5 plum tomatoes, peeled and diced
* 1/3 cup olive oil, plus a few extra tbsps for drizzling
* 1 large bunch of spinach, leaves washed and torn into bite size pieces
* 3 tsp. dill
* 1 tsp. oregano
* salt and pepper to taste

The Hows:

1) If using dried beans: in a medium saucepan, bring two cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add the black-eyed peas to the boiling water; cover and let soak for three hours. Drain and rinse beans. In the same saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil; add soaked beans. Turn heat to low; cover and simmer until beans are soft and ready to cook.

2) In a large skillet, heat several tablespoons of the olive oil; add onions and garlic and cook for two to three minutes. Add the tomatoes, remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, and dill and cook for about 10 minutes until more sauce-like in consistency.

3) Add torn spinach leaves by the handful, allowing each handful to wilt for a minute or two before adding the next handful. Add black-eyed peas to the skillet with several tablespoons of their cooking liquid and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings as desired. Serve hot; drizzle with extra olive oil if desired.

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