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Collard Greens and Black Eyed Peas

2011 January 26

I love it when my grocery store plans my dinner menu for me.

You know … the way they strategically place the cornbread mixes next to the cans of beans (for chili) and the caramel apple dip in the fruit section.

Not that I bought any of that stuff.

What I ran into was a bag of black eyed peas.  Peas were not on my list.  So I strolled on by (I shop on a mission).  I put on the brakes, though, when I sped by the collard greens.  I made a right turn, did the loop-de-loop and snagged the peas, bagged a bunch of greens, and had a new dinner plan.

People have compared the smell of greens cooking to “old tennis shoes.”  I just don’t think that’s true.  And that’s not because I’m Southern born and bred.  I don’t even have a Southern accent.  And I don’t think that my parents ever even cooked this meal in my house when I was a little Branny.

But there’s one critical ingredient that allows me to eat greens (of any sort, really).  Vinegar.  That splash of vinegar onto your meal after you plate the greens is critical.  Any kind will do: hot pepper, red wine, balsamic.

One Year Ago: Black Eyed Pea Masala (I guess I ran into these peas in the produce section exactly a year ago, too!)

Spicy Collard Greens (adapted from here)
3 bunches of collards, stems removed and chopped into ribbons
2 15 oz cans black eyed peas (I cooked 1.5 cups of dried peas)
1 T olive oil
1 onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup wine (I used white)
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or deep frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and pepper and all of the herbs and spices except the salt. Stirring frequently, cook the spices in the oil for several minutes.  Add the collard greens and saute, coating the greens thoroughly in the spices and oil.

Saute for 5 minutes or until the greens begin to wilt. Add all of the remaining ingredients and cover. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the greens are tender. Stir regularly to make sure ingredients don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle with vinegar when serving.

  • Kate

    I don’t think I’d ever vinegared my greens until I made a rutabaga-collard frittata last week; what a difference! Truly delicious. I look forward to trying this, too.

  • Brit

    Those look wonderful! We had a successful collard greens and beans dish last week, so I think Chris would totally be game to try this out.

  • Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles

    Can you believe I’ve never had black eyed peas before?! I agree with you on vinegar – such great splash of flavor to just about anything!

  • Kate

    I live greens and never even noticed a smell when cooking

  • mama

    no greens when you were a little branny? now, they were much simpler than what you present here, but do you remember your dad’s hot pepper vinegar always in the fridge? remember when we used to have dinner at the studio of rice, greens w onion and bacon, and fresh green beans made the same way (not too creative, i will admit)!

  • polwig

    Personally I think cooking cabbage smells a lot worst then greens. Love black eyed peas and lately have been on a legume kick so this is definately up my alley.

  • Quay Po Cooks

    I love black eye pea but never knew can make it this way. Interesting.

  • Cara

    Kinda like how I am from Boston and I’ve never made clam chowdah ;) I’ve never had this meal either – but that’s less of a surprise. I’m pretty sure I’d love it though! Never met a legume or green I didn’t like.

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