I want to make collard greens and black eyed peas for New Year's. We are going to a party where someone else is making short ribs, so I need to be able to cook them without a big protein cooking with them. Any suggestions?
Hoppin' John without "protein" would be like trying to cook cassoulet without meat. It would be bland and drab and not a good way to welcome the New Year. You will need to include ham hock, pork neck or something in there or it will be a disappointing dish. It needs animal fat to jump start it.
Wellllll .... there is a vegetarian restaurant here with some pretty awesome blackeyed peas, they make them with garlic and onions (I would caramelize the onions) and tamari and olive oil, and lots of black pepper. They get a nice rich flavor without any meat ... oh and I think the liquid is veggie broth.
Pierino: The last think I want is some bland greens to start the new year. Is there a recipe you like for collards?
Aargersi: Thanks for the veg friendly tip, I think for this crowd I will try the pork neck or ham hock but will experiment with your suggestions later on.
For delicious collard greens without meat, here's how we do it in Mississippi. If you can get really fresh greens they make the best pot liquor! Roughly chop your greens, you want them a little bit bigger than the size of a silver dollar. Put them in a pot with some water, not too much, over medium high heat. After about ten minutes when they've reduced down to something you can stir, add a half a chopped white onion and 2 chopped cloves of garlic per 4 servings. Add some salt and plenty of black pepper and let them cook at a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until they reach the texture you like. Serve with some hot pepper vinegar. I promise you and your friends will not be disappointed. Btw, cornbread is an essential accompaniment to collards and peas - spoon some of the pot liquor from the greens over the cornbread.
For fantastic peas without meat, saute an onion and a little garlic, add your soaked peas, water, about 2 teaspoons of dried thyme, a couple of bay leaves, a dash or 2 of cayenne pepper but don't salt til close to the end of cooking and then be generous.
The great thing about these 2 traditional New Year's ingredients is the earthy flavors. They are both wonderful with pork, but also delicious and clean tasting without it when well seasoned. Good luck with your cooking!
Homemadecornbread has it right! If I'm cooking for omnivores, I include the pork, but I have no problem getting flavor into greens without pork. Adding olive oil to the cooking liquid is good.
I cook my greens, drain them (keep the pot liquor, of course!) and then rewarm them in a wide skillet in which I've sauteed garlic, onion, etc.
Ways to add a smoky, earthy taste: smoked paprika, liquid used to rehydrate dried chilis or mushrooms, a little Earl Grey tea.
All of the above work with black eyed peas, too. Please don't cook the rice with the peas for Hoppin' John. Mix them not long before serving.
We ended up taking some of the suggestions from Aargersi's greens and added a smoked pork chop. They came out awesome! Thanks for the help!