This recipe (part of my Orthodox Lenten fasting series) is one of those happy concoctions that is discovered accidentally, while playing with “a dash of this, a splash of that.” Based on the recipe for “Sloppy Black-Eyed Peas” from Vegan Slow Cooking, for Two or Just for You by Kathy Hester, this dish kept evolving the longer it simmered, until I found I had personalized it into something uniquely me! My mixture never got quite as red as the photo in the book, and the collard greens (and my addition of apple cider vinegar) immediately made me think of pork, as collards and vinegar are frequent accompaniments to various pork dishes down South. Culinary experiments don’t always turn out so well, but I will count this as a victory… and I will enjoy dinner tonight!
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
½ cup millet
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon sea salt, or to taste
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 medium tomatoes
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, or more to taste
1 teaspoon cumin powder
4 collard leaves, stems removed, leaves finely chopped
¼ to ½ cup tomato paste (I recommend Cento brand)
Splash of apple cider vinegar, roughly ¼ cup, or to taste
**Soak black-eyed peas for at least 8 hours.**
Add black-eyes peas, millet, carrots, bell pepper, bay leaves, and salt to a medium pot.
Blend tomatoes and garlic in a blender with 2 cups of water. Pour into pot. Pour in more water if necessary to just cover the beans and vegetables.
Bring to boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer until beans and veggies are soft. Roughly 45 minutes. Stir frequently as the mixture begins to thicken, so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Add water if mixture is too dry and thick. If mixture is too watery, uncover and continue simmering while allowing some liquid to evaporate.
Once beans are becoming soft and mixture is getting thick to your preference, remove bay leaves and carefully ladle out 1-2 cups of the mixture. Allow to cool slightly, then carefully transfer to blender. Blend until smooth, then return to pot. Stir. Add Cajun seasoning, cumin powder, collards, tomato paste, vinegar, and any additional salt or pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly.
Cover and leave to sit, and cool. As it cools, it will continue to thicken, and the flavors will continue to gently infuse.
Stir again before serving.
Can be eaten from a bowl, but the idea is to treat it somewhat like a pulled pork sandwich… best served on a toasted bun!