Black-eyed peas are often served at New Year’s for good luck, usually in a rice-and-bean combo called Hoppin’ John. Here’s a nice alternative: a quick-cooking chili, good to serve over brown or white rice or a mound of quinoa.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup diced green bell pepper
2 1/4 cups dried black-eyed peas, picked over and rinsed
4 cups boiling water
2 to 3 tablespoons mild chili powder
2 garlic cloves, pushed through a press
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Mild or hot salsa to taste
Salt to taste
Heat oil in pressure cooker. Cook the garlic over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until lightly browned. Add the cumin seeds and continue stirring for about 5 more seconds. Add the onions, oregano, cinnamon, green bell pepper, black-eyed peas, water (stand back to avoid sputtering oil) and 2 tablespoons of chili powder. Taste the liquid and add more chili powder if the chili flavor isn’t fairly intense.
Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook 11 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally.
Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape. If the black-eyed peas are not tender, replace (but do not lock) the lid and simmer until they are done. If the mixture is too soupy, puree about a cupful of the peas and stir the puree back into the chili. (Or use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup.)
Stir in the garlic and salsa to taste (if using) and salt. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the beans to pick up some of the salsa flavor. Stir in the cilantro just before serving.