Thursday, July 30, 2009


This is a recipe adapted from one in the current Bon Appetit. Black-eyed peas and their pink and purple relatives are called “field peas” where I grew up. I confess that James made most of this because I got distracted with a stray dog rescue, but I am pretty sure he followed the directions. I used less sausage than the recipe called for, and used sweet Italian rather than spicy Italian and Andouille. Those who like spicy would obviously prefer the latter choices. I think it would be good without the sausages at all, with a veg stock. Its just a great combination of summer lightness and a comfort food feeling – and an introduction to using fresh field peas – most of us have only had them canned, frozen or dried. They are fresh in the farmer’s markets here summer through early fall in various varieties, and you can by them in the shell or already shelled. But I like shelling peas (especially with kids). It’s very calming. Note: shell them the day that you buy them and they’ll store in the fridge for a week. We also subbed spinach for romano beans, which might take a few more minutes to cook which will change your cooking times.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound fresh sweet Italian sausages (about 5)
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken stock
1 ½ - 2 cups freshly shucked black-eyed peas (from 1 generous pound peas in pod) or one 11-ounce container shucked fresh black-eyed peas

big bunch of baby spinach, roughly chopped
12 ounces Romano beans or string beans, trimmed, cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces

1 10-ounce container grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

Heat oil in heavy large deep skillet or pot over medium heat. Add sausages and cook until browned and thermometer inserted horizontally into Italian sausages registers 165°F, turning occasionally, about 12 minutes. Transfer sausages to plate. Add onion to skillet; sprinkle with a bit of salt and cook until tender and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add broth and peas; cover and cook until peas are almost tender, about 12 minutes. Add beans and/or spinach; cover and simmer until beans are almost tender, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook uncovered until tomatoes begin to burst, about 2 minutes. Add thyme and sausages with any accumulated juices. Cook until sausages are heated through, peas and beans are tender, and liquid coats back of spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon vegetable mixture into large shallow bowl. Arrange sausages over and serve.

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