New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas

I had planned this big New Year’s Eve post with resolutions, black-eyed peas, cornbread and all sorts of New Years-y goodness.  But then life happened.  I moved into my new apartment on New Years Eve day and still haven’t unpacked everything.  My apartment is a maze of 30 gallon trash bags filled with packing paper and the other millions of little items that come with moving from everything you own from a storage unit (where it had sat in limbo for over a year) to a third floor apartment; stacks of things for Goodwill and boxes yet to be unpacked.  I didn’t even get internet turned on until 6 days after moving.

The black-eyed peas and resolutions had to wait a week.  I’ve yet to get to the cornbread.  Sad.

I usually don’t do well at resolutions.  The problem, I’ve discovered, is a combination of the fact that I’m lazy (and thus “weight loss” resolutions are a bust) and I have the attention span of a five-year-old.  I know this to be fact since I used to work with five-year-olds and generally when they’re bored with coloring or playing a game, then I am too!  This makes sticking to any one resolution for more than a few weeks difficult.  But this year I’m determined.  This year I will prevail over the resolution letdown that I’ve experienced in the past and the accompanying guilt of having given up.  So therefore, I resolve in 2011 to:

  • Take more photographs.  My camera’s memory card is filled with pictures of food. I resolve to take more pictures of my life, my friends and my town.
  • Post at least twice a month.  I cook pretty much every day and there’s absolutely no reason for me not to post at least twice a month.
  • Spend more time out doors.  Kansas in the spring, summer and fall is absolutely wonderful!  I know when nice weather comes around, I’m going to miss the constant outdoors-iness that Uganda afforded.
  • Eat healthier.  You notice that I didn’t say “eat less” or “lose weight.”  I know I’m not going to eat less and past experience has shown me that resolving to “lose weight” just leads to guilt when I inevitably give in to temptation.  I’ll eat healthier – more salads, less fast food – and if I end up losing some weight at the end of it…go me.

New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas

Adapted from Three Many Cooks, Serves approximately 4 as a side dish and two as an entree

1 cup dried black-eyed peas, picked through for stones, sticks and bad peas
1/2 pound smoked turkey sausage (I used half of the Hillshire Farms’ smoked turkey sausage link)
1 medium onion, medium dice
1 small green bell pepper, medium dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium chicken broth
salt/pepper to taste
dash red pepper flakes (or more depending on how spicy you like things)
olive oil

Begin by soaking the peas according to the package either overnight, or (if you’re like me) pour 5 cups of boiling water over the peas and let soak for 2 hours.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, saute the smoked turkey sausage in a skillet with 2 T olive oil on medium heat until they begin to brown.  The sausage I used is precooked, so technically you don’t have to saute it, but I like the flavor that sauteing it imparts to the rest of the dish.  It’s even better if you get a caramelization on the bottom of the skillet as this will give the peas really great flavor.

Add the onions and green pepper and sweat for five minutes, stirring often.  After five minutes, add the minced garlic and more oil if needed.  Continue sweating until the onions are translucent, stirring often to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

Pour in the drained peas and the chicken broth.  Stir and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Let simmer for one hour or until the peas are fully cooked, adding water if needed.   I like my black-eyed peas to be thick and creamy, so I rarely add more water.  However, many people prefer a “soupier” version, so feel free to add as much water and/or stock as you like!

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