This recipe is inspired by a traditional black-eyed pea dish called feijão verde from the Brazilian state of Ceará. I have substituted some of the more difficult-to-find Brazilian ingredients—like dried beef (carne de sol) and canned cream (creme de leite)—for ingredients that are more commonly available in American grocery stores. Other than that, the dish retains many of the same features that make it such a crowd pleaser in its native Ceará. It can be assembled several days in advance and baked when you are ready to serve. —Carlos C. Olaechea
6 to 8
slices bacon, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces
large white or yellow onion, diced
Cubanelle pepper, seeded and chopped
cloves garlic, minced
(16-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
Set a large saucepan over medium heat on the stove and add vegetable oil. Add bacon and cook until browned. Remove pan from the heat, and transfer bacon to a plate to a paper towel to drain. Set aside.
Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan. Place the pan back on the head and add onions. Fry until softened, about 2 minutes, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add peppers and garlic and fry until both have softened and cooked through, about 3 minutes. You can add a teaspoon of water at a time to help prevent burning and loosen up the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the black-eyed peas and stir to combine.
Add cream and cream cheese. Stir gently to combine and bring to a simmer. Continue stirring gently to break up and melt the cream cheese. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 15 minutes uncovered until the sauce thickens to a custard consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove pan from heat and stir in scallions, cilantro, and bacon. Gently stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese. Pour the mixture into a 9x9-inch casserole dish and sprinkle over with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes until browned and bubbling. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving with rice, crusty bread, or crackers.
I was born in Peru to a Limeño father and a Texan mother. We moved to Miami when I was five, and I grew up in the "Kendall-suyo" neighborhood—often called the 5th province of the Inca Empire because of its large Peruvian population. I've been writing about food since I was 11 years old, and in 2016 I received a master's degree in Gastronomy from Boston University. A travel columnist at Food52, I'm currently based in Hollywood, Florida—another vibrant Peruvian community—where I am a writer, culinary tour guide, and consultant.