Dinner:  December 3, 2007

Sometimes I feel like I’m in a bit of a rut as far as our meatless dinners go. It’s so easy to fall back on pastas or my beloved risottos, and while soups are wonderful I just wanted something different yesterday. We had a bunch of kale in the crisper drawer that I wanted to use up, and a can of black eyed peas in the cupboard that I’ve had my eye on for a while, but I still wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to put the two together.

Inspiration came (as it often does) from the pages of the current issue of Diner Journal. As I flipped through, I discovered a recipe for a kale and black eyed pea dish topped with a poached egg, and while I didn’t end up using that specific recipe, it was nice to know that I was on the right track as far as the combination of ingredients goes.


I drained and rinsed my peas, washed and chopped my kale into about 1 inch pieces, and set them both aside. I warmed some olive oil in a pan and added half a red onion, chopped, and a bit of salt. I had a few small potatoes left from last week, so I cut them into small cubes and added them to the pan to brown, seasoning them with salt and pepper. Next came three fat garlic cloves, peeled, smashed and roughly chopped, which I sautéed until fragrant. I added a splash of white vermouth next, along with a teaspoon or so of smoked paprika and a splash of sherry vinegar, and then added the black eyed peas and kale. The whole thing got another pinch of salt and a good stir, then I lidded the pan up and let it cook until the kale wilted, about 15-20 minutes.

When the kale and pea mixture was nearly finished cooking I poached my eggs, cracking each one into a ladle before lowering them into simmering water spiked with a bit of vinegar. I spooned my veggies into shallow bowls, placed an egg on top, and drizzled a little olive oil over them. They got a final topping of freshly ground black pepper, and I nestled a couple of little garlicky toasts into the bowls before serving.

Once again, I ended up with a dish that was a bit lacking in the beauty department, but which had loads of flavor. It was hearty and satisfying, the smoky paprika lending depth, that hit of vinegar brightening the earthy veggies, and the golden yolk of the poached egg enrobing it all in richness

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