BLACK-EYED PEAS AND THE WAY THEY LOOK AT YOU FROM THE BACK OF THE PRESS
You bought them 5 years ago when you decided you were reinventing your kitchen, your cooking, and your life. You would be that person who would cook dry pulses from scratch. There’s nothing to it, you said. You will save lots of money and have wonderful new ideas for these dry goodies, you just knew it. Here you are though, 5 years later, with lentils, chickpeas, mung beans, and black-eyed peas staring at you from the back of the press. And whether you call it the press, the cupboard, the pantry or the dark cubby of doom, they are there.
Should you soak the beans before you cook them? The short answer, for me, is yes, you absolutely should. There have been some debates that soaking dried pulses makes no difference to the cooking process. Let me tell you those are people that have no spent 6 hours watching a pot of beans boil but not cook. Soaking beans overnight has never failed me. You can add a bouquet garni to the soaking water but in my opinion, that’s just notions. Take your beans, rinse them and place them in a large bowl, cover them with at least twice the water (room temperature). Do this the night before you want to cook them. If you’ve forgotten, don’t be upset, just do the same process the following morning but with water just off the boil instead and give it about 2 hours to soak. It will reduce the cooking time by a long long time.
Here are some simple things you can do with those beans:
- Fill a freezer bag, flatten it and store it in your freezer, standing up or not once it’s frozen. It really does save space and they freeze superbly.
- Use them to thicken a soup, broth or stew,
- Add a handful of them while still warm in a salad
- Turn them into hummus.
- Replace cannellini beans with them in this Turkish Cannelini beans salad.
- You can also replace pinto beans with them to make this dirty rice.
Alternatively, if you want to taste them straight of the rolling boil, here’s something gorgeous to do with them.
- Black-eyed peas
- wild garlic or one clove of garlic
- salt flakes
- Korean chili flakes
- the best extra virgin olive oil in your house
- whatever fresh herbs you’ve got knocking about.
- Extra: bay leaf and fresh thyme
- Drain your soaking beans and give them a rinse. Add them to a large pot of boiling water. Extra points for some bay leaf or fresh thyme floating in there but it’s not necessary. Place the lid on top.
- PLEASE DO NOT ADD SALT TO THE WATER OR THE BEANS AT THIS STAGE AS IT STOPS THEM FROM COOKING.
- Cook the beans until soft. It can take anything from 1 hour to 3 hours. It depends on so many factors like how old were the beans, the length of soaking and all that good stuff that I find it impossible to predict. Do not do this when you’re hungry and after a quick bite.
- Once the beans are cooked, drain them and let them cool down for about 15 min. You want them barely warm.
- Sprinkle and drizzle all the above ingredients to taste (shred the wild garlic and grate the garlic if that’s what you have).
- Enjoy this bowl of simple but delicious warm black-eyed peas