I can’t recall exactly when I first heard about eating black-eyed peas for good luck in the new year but think that it was when I lived in South Florida. Black-eyed peas are sold fresh there in the summer time. I had not eaten them before then. When I first tried them, I knew that I had found a new bean “friend.”
Since then, my way to ring in the new year is with black-eyed peas for both wealth and health. There is something about the meaty smokiness and starchiness of black-eyed peas that appeals to me and makes me want to use them often. They have an affinity for many different types of seasonings. However, since I love smoky flavors, I often cook them with smoked paprika or give them a final sprinkle of smoked salt.
Regarding pressure-cooking, what goes for black-eyed peas works for all other beans (but not lentils which do not need to be soaked). You have the choice to soak or not to soak but I prefer soaked beans as I find that they tend to cook more evenly.
If you want to pressure cook beans from dry you use 1 cup beans to at least 2 cups liquid. The time will depend upon the type of bean. Black-eyed peas take 6 to 7 minutes at pressure with a natural release, which means you let the pressure come down on its own. Most standard beans such as black, white, pinto and kidney take 20 to 25 minutes at pressure with natural release. Can you see why I love my black-eyed peas? They are ready quickly.
To cook soaked black-eyed peas, use at least ½ cup liquid (and up to ¾ cup) for each cup of dry beans that were soaked. Always measure the beans before soaking them, not after. (Just so you know, a pound of beans is usually about 2 ½ cups of dry beans and they often expand by double or triple.) Black-eyed peas cook in just 3 minutes at pressure with natural release. The standard soaked beans, mentioned above, take 6 to 8 minutes at pressure.
The pressure cooker is a like a super steamer. If you add seasonings when you cook your beans, the flavor gets infused into the beans. The addition of onions and garlic alone enhance almost any bean.
The cooking time at pressure is the same whether you use a stove top or electric pressure cooker. It’s the fastest, easiest and most delicious way to cook beans of any type. Here is one of my favorite recipes for black-eyed peas.
Smoky Sweet Black-Eyed Peas
By Jill Nussinow, aka The Veggie Queen™
I love black-eyed peas and I don’t just reserve them for New Year’s luck. Any day that I can eat them is a lucky day.
1 teaspoon oil, optional
1 medium to large onion, thinly sliced
2–3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced red pepper
1 small jalapeno or other hot chile, minced
1–2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1–2 teaspoons mild or medium chili powder
1½ cups dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and drained
4 dates, chopped fine
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can Fire Roasted tomatoes with green chilies
2 cups chopped greens such as kale, collards or Swiss chard
Salt to taste
Heat a pressure cooker over medium heat or set an electric pressure cooker to sauté. Add the oil if using or dry sauté the onion for a few minutes, adding some of the water if the onion starts to stick. Add the garlic and peppers and sauté for another minute. Add the smoked paprika and chili powder along with the peas and dates. Stir to coat them and then add the water, stirring well to be sure that nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pressure cooker. Add the water. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook at pressure for 3 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally.
When time is up, carefully open the lid, tilting it away from you. Add the tomatoes and greens and lock the lid on the pressure cooker for 5 minutes. Open the cooker. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add salt to taste.
Note: You can cook this without a pressure cooker, if you don’t have one by following these directions and using 3 cups or more water, as needed instead of just 1 cup: Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Dry sauté the onion for a few minutes, adding some of the water if the onion starts to stick. Add the garlic and peppers and sauté for another minute. Add the smoked paprika and chili powder along with the peas and dates. Stir to coat them and then add the water to cover them. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Put a lid on, keeping it slightly ajar. Cook by simmering, keeping the peas covered with water, for 35–45 minutes until they are cooked through and almost all of the water has been absorbed. Drain any excess water.
Add the tomatoes and greens and cook for another 5 minutes or more until the greens are wilted. Add salt to taste.
©2016 Reprinted from Nutrition CHAMPS by Jill Nussinow, MS, RDN