This recipe is a dedication to my Great Aunt Boo, who I always think of when having black eyed peas. She was a wonderful cook. When she'd come to my grandma's for her summer visit, she'd be cooking up a storm in the kitchen. And usually at least once during her visit she'd make black eyed peas.
I came across this recipe on the always lovely blog Smitten Kitchen yesterday. She posted a Spicy Squash Salad with Black Lentils and Goat Cheese. I had a bunch of leftover feta and a can of black eyed peas, so I thought they'd make great substitutions.
And last night was my first and successful attempt at peeling a butternut squash with a vegetable peeler. I was a little nervous, so I looked on the internet to find the easiest and least dangerous way to do it. I found a great site that suggested cutting off the top and bottom of the squash first, to have a flat surface so the squash isn't rolling around everywhere, and tempting the peeler to cut you.
After this, the peeling was easier than I anticipated. I would do one layer, and then there was a second, green-striped layer that I peeled as well. From there, it was so simple to cut them in cubes...much like chopping a cantaloupe. The seasoning was a different combination than I have used before and really enjoyed the result. The recipe called for hot smoked Spanish paprika. I only had the sweeter variety of paprika, so I did half of what I had, and half of a smoked dried chili pepper I had gotten at Whole Foods this summer, after taking a Turkish/Mediterranean cooking class.
I jazzed the black eyed peas up, by sauting an onion and garlic first and then added the peas and some salt and pepper. I was drinking a glass of white wine that I wasn't totally enjoying (a little too sweet), so I poured a few swallows into the mix. The result was really good.
Black Eyed Peas and Smoky Squash Salad
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yields 4-6 good sized servings
1 Butternut squash, peeled, cubed and roasted
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked chiles, powdered (or hot paprika)
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black eyed peas, drained
1 Tbsp white wine
Salt to taste
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare butternut squash. Cut off top and bottom of squash. Peel with vegetable peeler until you reach the smooth yellow/orange surface. Cut the squash in half. Scoop out seeds and cut into cubes. Put cubes in a large bowl and toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil, cumin, paprikas and salt, making sure to coat each piece. Roll a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread squash on top in one layer.
Bake for 20 minutes and flip cubes over and cook for another 15-20 minutes until tender.
While squash is cooking, saute the onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil on low/medium. Cook until onion is translucent. Add black eyed peas, wine and salt. Cover and cook on low heat to let the flavors marry.
Take out squash and let cook. I picked up the parchment with the squash on top, and carefully placed on wire rack to let cool.
Meanwhile, prep the spinach and feta. Toss the black eyed pea mixture in with it. Add squash and toss with vinegar, salt and pepper, adding more if needed Serve as a healthy sized dinner salad, or a side salad to soup, chicken or toasty bread.