Remember when Scott and I went to NOLA for his birthday (see post here)? I was so impressed by the food at The Gumbo Shop that I bought their cookbook at a lovely little cookbook shop (called Kitchen Witch) in the French Quarter.
The Gumbo Shop is one of the few places in NOLA I've found where I can get local flavor that's vegetarian. The food there is good. I finally got around to making one of their recipes from the cookbook last week, so I'm sharing it with you here. I've adjusted the seasoning only slightly. The dish is served over steamed rice, so prepare that when the time is right.
1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
2 qts. water
1 bay leaf
1/4 c. olive oil
1 3/4 c. finely chopped onion
1 1/4 c. finely chopped yellow bell pepper
3/4 c. finely chopped shallot
1 T. minced garlic
1/2 t. freshly-ground black pepper (or more, to taste)
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
1/2 t. sage
1/2 t. thyme
1 1/2 c. celery, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
2 t. salt (or more or less, to taste)
1 1/2 t. Balsalmic vinegar
1 1/2 t. Tabasco sauce (or more or less, to taste)
1/3 c. sliced green onions (green and white parts)
Sort through the dried peas, removing any small rocks or other foreign objects, then rinse the peas well. Place them in a large pot, cover with the water, and soak in the fridge for at least 8 hrs.
Set the pot over medium heat, add the bay leaf, and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet, add the chopped onions, peppers, garlic, and shallots, and sauté until lightly brown. (Use the stick and scrape method: let the vegetables brown and somewhat stick to the bottom of the pan, then scrape them off and incorporate the brown scrapings into the dish.) Add the black pepper, cayenne pepper, sage, thyme, celery, and carrots, and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir the entire contents of the skillet into the pot of simmering peas and continue cooking until the peas, celery, and carrots are tender.
Add the salt, vinegar, Tabasco, and green onions and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and serve over white rice. Greens or spinach make a nice side dish.
Serves 6 - 8.