This recipe was a last-ditch effort to improve my mood after a freezer thawing disaster. We had a large container filled with what I thought were pinto beans. I put them out overnight only to realize in the morning that I was mistaken. The pintos, in fact, were black-eyed peas.
Normally that would be fine. The problem was that I was still recovering from a recent black-eyed pea mishap and wasn’t sure that I was ready to face this formidable adversary again so soon. (Perhaps I’m exaggerating a little here. What actually happened was that I was making a vegan stew with black-eyed peas and I accidentally over-did it with white pepper. I’d thought that I was using about a teaspoon but my brain was clearly on stand-by. I think that I ended up throwing in about a tablespoon or maybe even more! All you could taste was white pepper. Whoa. It ruined the dish and the meal. Hegui and my friend, David, were good sports about it, but I was mortified. And unfortunately, though how could you expect otherwise, there were ample leftovers to re-live the disaster for days more to come. I’d just finished the last of the “white pepper stew” a few days before, and now black-eyed peas again. Oh, no…)
Well, Southern-style black-eyed pea stew was out. But what else can you make with them?
I’ve had marvelous croquettes cooked with dendê oil then filled with shellfish once before in Brazil. That was too ambitious, but I thought that perhaps I was onto something.
Earlier that week, I’d read an exciting recipe for spicy tofu cream sauce on The Tomato Tart. Sabrina’s trying to go vegan right now. This was her awesome suggestion for a sort of spicy alternative to sour cream or dairy-based sauces for soft tacos. The recipe is a snap and tasted very, very good. Follow the link to her blog if you want to try it.
They’re lots of recipes for black-eyed pea croquettes. Here’s one, and another and another; and finally, one more. I sort of blended a few together based upon the ingredients that I had on hand, mostly following the first, from Vegetarian Times.
Inspired by Sabrina’s diet, I went veggie on these (I used egg to help it stick together). They’re more like patties than anything else, so would undoubtedly be great on sandwiches, sort of burger-style. We had ours with Sabrina’s “cream sauce” and homemade tomatillo salsa, which I prepared that same day. Yum!
black-eyed pea croquettes
2 to 3 cups cooked unseasoned black-eyed peas
4 cups panko bread crumbs
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can tomatoes, diced with juice
1 tsp prepared garlic chili sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 scallions, sliced fine
½ cup cilantro, chopped fine
2 eggs, beaten
flour for dusting
olive oil for pan-frying
Start by sautéing onion in some olive oil until translucent. Avoid burning. Add minced garlic, garlic chili sauce, vinegar, salt and black pepper. Sauté a minute more then add tomatoes with juice. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer, covered, for about twenty minutes.
Add black-eyed peas to tomato sauce. Adjust flavors. Remove from heat to a large bowl. Purée half of bean mixture and return to bowl. Mix in cilantro and scallion; then egg and breadcrumbs. It should be moist but not too runny. Adjust with more breadcrumbs (or water if too dry.)
Form into patties and dust with flour.
Heat large skillet. Add olive oil and sauté patties for a few minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with spicy tofu cream sauce and tomatillo salsa.