Wine Wednesday: New Years Eve Southern Traditions with a twist

If you grew up in the south, you know that there is a traditional (some say superstition) meal that must happen on New Years Day. I grew up in such a house (via NYC) – did you? Well, this year, I found some great options for your Black-Eye Peas. We’re taking an African twist by using Ethiopian Spices and Coconut milk, as well as another that is a great “going to brunch and bringing” with Sausage. Both are awesomely yummy, and are sure to be a New Years Favorite.

So as this is my last 2014 /first 2015 recipe share, I wish you and yours all the blessings you can possibly imagine. Happy New Year and may you be with family and those you love.bepeas1.jpg

Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Ethiopian Spices

This creamy, complex-tasting dish from chef Marcus Samuelsson (Thanks Marcus!) relies on assertive African flavors like berbere (an Ethiopian spice mix) and coconut milk. Don’t leave out the habanero—it’s not too hot because it’s seeded, and it adds a fruity, tropical flavor.

  1. 2 cups dried black-eyed peas (12 ounces)
  2. Kosher salt
  3. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. 1 large red onion, minced
  5. 1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  6. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1 habanero chile, seeded and minced
  8. 2 teaspoons berbere seasoning (see Note)
  9. 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

In a large saucepan, cover the peas with water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until tender, about 40 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and let stand for 5 minutes, then drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chile and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the berbere and turmeric and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes.

Add the peas to the sauce and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the peas are lightly coated, about 10 minutes. Fold in the cilantro and scallions and serve.

Make Ahead Berbere is an Ethiopian ground red chile spice mix. It’s available at specialty food shops and from kalustyans.com.

Black-Eyed Pea Stew with Sausage

  1. 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  2. 1 1/4 pounds hot Italian sausages (about 8 links), pricked with a fork
  3. 1 onion, diced
  4. 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  5. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  7. One 14-ounce can Italian tomatoes, drained and chopped
  8. 2 cups dried black-eyed peas, picked over and rinsed
  9. 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus leaves for garnish

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the sausages and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausages to a plate.

Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeño to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until any liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas along with the broth and water. Season lightly with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat until the black-eyed peas are just tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Cut the sausages on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices and add them to the stew along with any accumulated juices from the plate. Add the chopped cilantro, season with salt and pepper and simmer the stew for 10 minutes. Spoon the pea-and-sausage stew into deep bowls, garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.

Suggested Pairing

This hearty, down-home stew gets a kick from spicy Italian sausage; tannins tend to intensify the heat from spice, so pair this dish with a fruity, low-tannin red. The Barbera grape, native to Italy’s Piedmont region, is unusual because it has deep color and lots of flavor, but very little tannic structure.

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