Anytime you throw beans and rice together, I'm a fan. It's easy, it tastes good and it's cheap. Slimy spinach, on the other hand, is a harder sell. The Dad always talks about the creamed veggies he ate growing up. I like mine crunchy, not cooked beyond recognition. But I figured I'd give it a go anyway. It probably didn't hurt that my recipe called for garlic and cream cheese. That's gotta be good, right?
It was. Really good. And what was even more surprising was the fact that The Kid ate two helpings. What?! The Girl didn't much care for it, but she ate enough to get a pass.
I made cornbread in my cast iron skillet to go with everything. Good dinner. And completely vegetarian for those keeping track.
Here are the recipes with my notes:
Creole Hoppin' John
From The Oregonian newspaper
Be sure to allow enough time to soak the peas overnight. Or at least several hours.
3/4 C dried black-eyed peas, sorted, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
1/2 C long-grain brown rice, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
1/2 C finely chopped shallot (I didn't have quite enough so made up the difference with red onion)
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 C vegetable broth
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp course sea salt
In a medium saucepan combine the peas with enough water to cover by 2 inches, place over high heat and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, just until tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from heat and drain.
Drain the rice, add to a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the water has evaporated and the rice starts smelling nutty. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and continue cooking until the rice starts to brown, about 2 minutes.
To the rice add the shallots, all the seasonings (it would help to measure all these out ahead of time), and remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Continue cooking, stirring frequently until the shallots are soft, about 3 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a bowl and set aside. (I threw mine in with the bowl of peas.)
Over medium heat in the saucepan the rice was in, combine the veggie broth, tomatoes and sea salt and bring to a boil. Add the rice and black-eyed peas to the broth and stir well. Bring back to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 50 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated.
Remove from heat and steam with the cover on for at least 10 minutes. (I just turned mine down to low until The Dad got home from work.)
Serve with your favorite hot sauce.
Easy Creamed Spinach
Ripped from a magazine, unfortunately I don't know which one.
Course salt and black pepper
3 to 4 bunches, 2 1/2 pounds, spinach, trimmed and cleaned (I used two large bunches that came out to about a pound and a half)
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, diced (I used a quarter)
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces (I used 3 ounces)
1/2 C milk
Pinch ground nutmeg
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spinach and cook just until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain in a colander; rinse with cold water until cool. Squeeze spinach to remove as much liquid as possible; coarsely chop, and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion softens, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add cream cheese and milk, cook, stirring until cream cheese is melted and smooth. Stir in spinach. Simmer over medium heat until mixture thickens, 8 to 10 minutes. Add nutmeg; season with salt and pepper.
Again, I turned it down to low until The Dad was home.
Here's dinner on my plate: