Spicy smoky black-eyed peas and rice

Spicy smoky black-eyed peas and rice

Spicy smoky black-eyed peas and rice

On New Year’s day we lost and found Clio. It all started because we all had a thick layer of wintery cobwebs clouding our vision and our brains, and they needed clearing, so we went to a big field by the towpath for a scamper. The boys and the dog raced ahead, buoyant and bright-eyed. The field was golden, the sky was pale and glowing, the bare trees dark and stark and beautiful. I thought, “We needed this!” and imagined how nice it would be to go home later and be warm and cozy.

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Then Clio ran into the trees. We heard her crying and then nothing. Malcolm and David went searching through the thorns and brambles and frozen marsh, and Isaac and I stayed on the path. For ten minutes, fifteen minutes, no sound, no sign of Clio. I tried not to think about finding her hurt or worse, I tried not to think about not finding her, I tried not to think at all. When we finally found her she was on the other side of the woods, the other side of the towpath, the other side of the canal, up a hill on route 29. A grey dog on a grey shoulder-less road on a grey day. She ran down the hill crying, and swam across the icy canal to reach us. And we had her back again, the stupid beautiful dog. The boys now understand what it means to be so worried about someone that you’re angry with them. They talked about it for the rest of the day, describing how they felt every step of the way. So we were all safe and warm with a story to tell: the losing and finding of Clio the dog. And today’s Sunday interactive playlist is on the subject of losing and finding things. You might lose your baby or your reason or your dog or your keys or your heart or your mind. You might find your soul or your voice or a pot of gold. Add your songs to the list, or leave a note in the comments and I’ll try to remember to add it through the week.

IMG_2007Of course we had black-eyed peas and ring-shaped bread on New Year’s day! We made the peas spicy and smoky, with ginger, jalapeños, garlic, black cardamom, cumin, cilantro and smoked paprika. I used black-eyed peas from a can, because I’m lazy like that, but you could cook them up from scratch and add them just as easily. We ate theme with basmati rice and stewed collards and potatoes. Yet another way to clear the cobwebs!!

Here’s a link to your interactive playlist.


2 T olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 inch cube ginger, minced
2 plump cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, deseeded and diced quite fine
3 black cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
2 T tomato paste
1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed or drained (or two cups cooked)
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes or halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 t each cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and turmeric (or to taste)
2 T butter
juice of one lime
salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallot and ginger. Stir and fry until the shallot starts to brown. Add the garlic and jalapeño and continue to stir and fry until the garlic starts to brown, about a minute. Stir in the black cardamom and bay leaves. Stir in the tomato paste and combine everything well. Add the black-eyed peas and tomatoes. Stir and fry for a minute or two.

Add the spices, stir to combine and immediately add enough water to cover by about an inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the tomatoes are soft and all of the flavors are combined, about 15 or 20 minutes. You can cook until the pot is quite dry or leave it nice and saucy, as you wish.

Stir in the butter and lime juice, season well with salt and plenty of ground pepper.

Just before serving stir in the cilantro. Serve with basmati rice. We ate ours with collards stewed with potatoes and with yeasted cornmeal bread baked in a ring.

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