Cook's Corner

Published 11:04 pm Sunday, January 4, 2009

By Staff
Peas ring in new year
The biggest part of the holidays has come and gone and it's time to think about a new year.
I'm glad Christmas dinner is behind me, but the dilemma of preparing a great meal for the first day of a new year is weighing heavily on my shoulders. Not only do I have a meal to plan, it falls right next to a weekend that will call for some football watching and that means snacks.
If you're planning a typical New Year's Day meal, I've got some suggestions that may help you in your planning.
Although tradition calls for black-eyed peas and some kind of greens, there are some ways that you can change up those traditions a little and please some finicky eaters at your house.
This year, try this recipe for a black-eyed pea dish that is a little different that boilding them with the left-over Christmas ham bone. The dish actually has greens in it so you'll be killing two birds with one stone.
Black-Eyed Pea Pie
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 large button mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound chorizo sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
12 ounces fresh spinach, washed, stems removed
3 cups drained and rinsed canned black-eyed peas
6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Pastry for a 10-inch double crust pie
1 teaspoon water
Preheat oven to 375. Place 2 tablespoons olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until reduced, 8 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain in a colander placed over a bowl. Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet. Add onion and cook until transparent and soft. Stir in the sausage, and cook until evenly browned and cooked through. Mix in the jalapeno pepper, and cook until soft 2 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain, cool slightly. Place spinach, 1 1/2 cups black-eyed peas, cheese, 1 egg, heavy cream, and cayenne pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Process until well mixed, but still chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Line 10-inch pie plate with half of the pastry, letting excess pastry hang over the edge. Spoon the sausage mixture into the pie shell. Layer with mushrooms, then spinach mixture, and black-eyed peas. Cover filling with remaining pastry. Fold and crimp edges to seal top and bottom pastry. Whisk remaining egg with water in small bowl, and use to brush over top of pie. Bake until top is golden brown, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before serving.
It seems serving cabbage is always necessary on Jan. 1. This recipe has a little twist and makes for a great addition to any meal.
Cabbage Salad
1 small head green cabbage, cored and shredded
1 carrot, peeled, shredded
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 slices bacon
In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrot, green pepper and onion. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and salt. Pour over the cabbage mixture, and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. Place bacon in large deep skillet. Cook over medium heat until evenly browned, turning occasionally. Drain, cool and crumble. Toss crumbled bacon with salad just before serving.
Until next week, happy cooking and Happy New Year!