20 February 2011

Black Eyed Peas and Other Pulses

Dried pulses do require a little basic forethought, but I urge you to make a point of including them in your repertoire regularly. Great source of protein and fibre, while being low in fat, they carry lovely savoury flavours in a very delicious way. Cooked and cold, dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, seasonings and lots of parsley - a good quick lunch. Add chopped tomatoes if you like. Also worth stocking up on all kinds in tins for your store cupboard.

Black eyed peas have a very particular flavour, but you could use other beans or chickpeas that you have by you – you could even use a tin of cooked black eyed peas etc. To cook peas (or dried beans), soak them in water overnight, then bring them to the boil in plenty of water (without salt which toughens the skins). For red kidney beans in particular, do be careful to boil them hard for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, drain, and return to pan with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil again, lower to a simmer, and cook, tasting after half an hour to check whether they are done. Check again every five minutes, as black eyed peas do not need as much time as beans and chickpeas. 

For a simple, delicious way to eat greens - or spring cabbage, or in fact any leaf including stinging nettles. Bring another pan, this time of salted water, to the boil, and throw in the finely sliced greens for about 30 seconds. Drain. Fry a couple of shallots gently, with a couple of garlic cloves, until translucent, in olive oil. Add to the beans and stir in the greens. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with lemon juice and more olive oil if you like.

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