I am so excited to present the second Sabzi guest post. I first became aware of Tannaz’ blog, all kinds of yum, through Amelia. As usual, I wanted to read more and more. I instantly became hooked on Tannaz’ charming and honest posts, and her focus on Jewish Iranian culinary traditions. I became a regular over there and was thus so happy to get to know Tannaz a little bit through the first Persian Food Bloggers event, #Mehregan2014. Since then, we’ve kept in fairly regular contact and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I’m looking forward to more conversations with her, especially about the particularities of Iranian food. I hope you enjoy this post!
It was raining in Los Angeles when I wrote this. A rainy Saturday in LA is a call not to leave the house and cook things that simmer for hours, making the whole place cozy with the delicious smells wafting out of the kitchen. I heeded the call.When Sara asked me to write a guest post for her, she suggested I go with something wintry, or with something Iranian Jewish, since that’s kinda my jam. Black eyed peas are both, and also fit the bill for New Years and bean month.
It’s only recently that I’ve been hearing about black-eyed peas as a traditional southern New Years’ dish. But, I was lucky to be a last-minute addition to a dinner party on the evening of New Year’s Day, and our host pulled from her southern heritage to make them for us.
I find it interesting that black eyed peas are a traditional American New Year’s food because, among Iranian Jews, they’re also part of the regular spread for Rosh Hashana, the first day of the Jewish calendar. My mamanini would be rolling over in her grave at the thought of her granddaughter dining on beans cooked with a ham hock, but the funny truth is that porky southern black-eyed peas don’t taste all that much different from my mom’s, and grandma’s, rendition. For Rosh Hashana, they cook the beans with a beef tongue, another symbolic food for the Jewish new year, and the result is creamy, substantial, and deeply comforting.
2 pounds dry black eyed peas
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 medium onion, finely diced
3-4 meaty shank bones, preferably split to expose marrow
2 bay leaves
In a large bowl, soak beans in water to cover by 2 inches and 1 tablespoon salt overnight (or don’t?).
Add olive oil, turmeric, and onions to a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook until onions are just translucent, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add bones, meat-side down. Cook until meat is browned, about 3 minutes.
Drain beans. Add beans, bay leaves, and enough fresh water to cover to pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for at least two hours, or until beans have softened completely.
Pull any tender meat from bones, shred, and stir back into beans. Remove bones and bay leaves before serving or storing.