Happy twenty-ten! My New Year’s meal was spent with good friends celebrating Kwanzaa while eating black-eyed peas mixed with couscous, collard greens, baked chicken, lasagna, and other delicious pot luck dishes. We started the evening by giving thanks to our ancestors (Ashay!) and honoring our community elder. Our hostess asked her guests to bring two pieces of fruit. We brought her a pineapple and a banana.
The next day, I slept in a few more extra hours and started making our New Year’s dinner: baked chicken with roasted root vegetables, black-eyed peas over brown rice, Brazilian collard greens, and a sparkling wine that was (…ahem) too sweet!
1 to 2 cups dried black-eyed peas
1/2 tsp. baking soda*
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 to 3 stalks of celery; diced
2 inch fresh ginger; minced
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green pepper, roughly chopped
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground caraway
1/2 tsp. ground chili
32 oz. of chicken stock; low-sodium
1 tbsp. tomato paste
One bunch of fresh thyme, tied together with twine
1 bay leaf
1 to 2 cups fresh Italian parsley; minced and divided in half; plus more for garnish
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary; minced
A few sage leaves; minced
Salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Optional: Roughly chopped turkey bacon, pancetta (pork or duck), or a smoked turkey part with bone and skin
Brown rice, cooked
1. Mix black-eyed peas and baking soda in a bowl of water. Beans should be completely submerge in water. Cover and soak beans overnight. Rinse beans and place aside.
2. In a large pot, if using bacon or pancetta, cook until lightly brown. Place aside on paper towel lined plate. Sauteed onions, ginger, and celery until translucent over medium heat. Add garlic and stir for 30 sec. Add green pepper, paprika, cumin, chili, caraway, crushed red pepper, salt, and fresh black pepper. (Optional: Add smoked turkey or return bacon/pancetta back to the pot.) Continue to stir for a couple minutes. Add tomato paste, thyme, bay leaves, fresh herbs (first half of parsley), chicken stock and beans. Bring to boil.
3. Cover beans and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Depending on the freshness of the beans, check pot after 15 minutes and adjust seasoning.
4. Continue to cook until the beans are to desired tenderness, about another 10 to 20 minutes. Add second half cup of parsley. Discard bay leaf and thyme, if desired (I don’t mind them floating in the pot, but other cooks remove them).
5. Serve over brown rice. Garnish with parsley.
*Adding baking soda is optional, but it reduces flatulence.
Note: Add chopped tomatoes or winter squash for a sweeter dish.
Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables
Fresh Sage leaves, reserve a few leaves for the cavity of the chicken
Fresh Rosemary leaves, reserve a few leaves for the cavity of the chicken
Fresh Italian Parsley, reserve a few leaves for the cavity of the chicken
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
white balsamic vinegar
The juice of two lemons, divided; save lemon rinds
salt and pepper
1 whole chicken, cleaned
3-4 large potatoes, cleaned and quartered
1 large onion, roughly chopped, save a few pieces for the cavity of the chicken
3-6 cloves of garlic, minced, save a few cloves for the cavity of the chicken
Parsnips and/or carrots, cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 or 3 stalks of celery, cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces
1. Place first six ingredients, the juice of ONE lemon, salt and pepper in a food processor. Puree until smooth (a slight chunky texture is fine). Place whole chicken in a ziplock or a bowl. Pour marinade over chicken. Marinade for at least one hour to overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 400° F. Place potatoes, onions, garlic, parsnips, carrots and celery in a roasting pan. Sprinkle olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, the second lemon, salt and pepper over vegetables and mix together. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with rosemary, sage, garlic, onions and the lemon rinds. Tie chicken legs together with twine. Place chicken over the vegetables, breast side down. Reserve marinade in a sauce pan. Place chicken in oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile heat marinade in a pan over medium heat. Reduce marinade in half and turn off heat and cover.
4. After the chicken has baked for 30 to 40 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Remove chicken from oven and turn over, breast side up. Brush the rest of the marinade over the chicken. Place back in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is finished cooking.
5. After the chicken is finish cooking, remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Place vegetables in another bowl.
Brazilian Collard Greens
1 bunch of collard greens, throughly cleaned at least 3 times in water
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
Crushed red pepper; to taste
(Optional) 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
Vinegar to taste (balsamic, white balsamic, sherry vinegar and so forth)
1. Cut and discard thick stalk/stem from collard greens. Roll a few leaves. lengthwise, similar to a cigar. Cut leaves into 1/8 inch wide strips. Repeat with the rest of the greens.
2. Over medium-high heat, preheat olive oil in a sauteed pan. Add onions and sauteed until translucent. Add garlic, crushed red pepper, and paprika and stir for 30 sec. Add collard greens in small amounts. Let it wilt and add more collard greens until none is left.
3. (Optional) Add diced tomatoes and a dash of vinegar. Cook for a few minutes, until desired tenderness and taste.
4. Serve warm.