This is one of those recipes that just comes together so beautifully and tastes so good! It is common practice to cook beans and greens together, not only in the Mediterranean but in many parts of the world. And what a delicious and healthy combination it is! Black-eyed peas and spinach, stewed together with tomato sauce, bright red pepper and carrots, resulting in a thick and rich stew.
How to Stew Beans Correctly
One of the most important aspects of cooking beans in the Greek kitchen, is getting them thick. For stews you don’t want a bean that has a “bite” to it. They should be soft and so should the rest of the ingredients. The tasting experience should be smooth, and all the flavors should meld together. To get this combination of flavors you need to cook your ingredients together for at least some part of the recipe and not just dump a can of beans in the stew
You also don’t want a “watery” bean soup, but a thick one. To get this type of texture you need to be a little careful with the water that is added to the stew. To avoid the watery effect, I suggest starting with less water because you can always add more later. On the other hand, if you add too much water and then pour out the excess liquid, you end up losing a lot of flavor. Another little secret of getting a thicker sauce is to add a bit of breadcrumbs at the end.
Beans and Greens: A Powerful Combination
Obviously, this type of dish delivers when it comes to both flavor and nutrition. The tomato sauce along with the olive oil make this dish rich and luscious. Plus, it is flavorful and filling. Nutritionally, the beans will give you protein, and you will also get plenty of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Most importantly, you will receive a good dose of antioxidants from all the ingredients in this dish. These antioxidants have various protective qualities such as fighting inflammation and free radicals, keeping away chronic diseases.
Greek Black-Eyed Peas and Spinach Recipe
- ½ pound dry black-eyed peas
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ onion chopped
- 1 carrot sliced
- ½ red bell pepper chopped
- 1 pound fresh spinach washed
- 8 ounces canned crushed tomatoes or 2 small tomatoes crushed in a food processor
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 2 teaspoons breadcrumbs
- Lemon for serving
- Ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- In a large pot cook the black-eyed peas with a bay leaf for about 30-35 minutes, until they are almost done. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, carrot and pepper for about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and continue heating for another 2-3 minutes until spinach wilts.
- Add the beans, the crushed tomatoes and ¾ cup hot water and ½ teaspoon salt and mix. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes until sauce is thick. Make sure to check the water levels while simmering, adding more hot water as needed. Right before removing from the heat add 2 teaspoons breadcrumbs and mix well, to thicken the sauce even more.
- Let it cool for 5 minutes and serve with a squeeze of lemon, parsley, fresh ground pepper and feta.