[Although I normally post new recipes on Saturdays, this week’s recipe is being posted on Friday so you’ll have it in time for your New Year’s celebration!]
In America, one of the great New Year’s Day traditions comes from the south: eating black-eyed peas for good luck. I admit it lacks the obvious appeal of the Dutch custom of eating donuts on New Year’s Day for good luck, but black-eyed peas – which are actually beans – are high in iron, fiber, potassium, and high quality protein, and low in fat, sodium and cholesterol. Take that, donuts!
I was introduced to this tradition by my mother-in-law, who hailed, and proudly, from Meridian, Texas. Every New Year’s Day, all family members were expected to have at least one black-eyed pea. (I can’t prove that eating them brought us good luck, but not eating them when she offered would have resulted in immediate bad luck, which amounts to the same thing.) As it turned out, I liked them, which was good for at least a few points with my mother-in-law.
The usual southern custom is to make them part of a larger dish that includes bacon, ham, or similar fatty meat as a symbol of hope for a “fat” year ahead. (It also doesn’t hurt that bacon just tastes good.) The dish also often includes greens of some kind, which legend tells us symbolize paper money.
And so, to get 2011 off to a proper start, my offering today is “New Year’s Day Deviled Eggs with Black-Eyed Peas, Spinach and Bacon.” Rather than the usual egg-yolk-with-mustard filling, these deviled eggs are filled with a tasty black-eyed pea hummus. (Loyal reader and fellow food blogger Sandra of Toronto Bites recently created a lovely cranberry sauce I was honored to learn was inspired by mine. As an admirer of the wonderfully creative work Sandra has done with hummus, I’m pleased today to return the inspiration-favor.)
This recipe makes enough filling for your New Year’s Day open house, about 48 deviled half-eggs. If you don’t need to make quite that many, you can also use the filling as you would any other hummus: on flat bread, as a healthy dip or sandwich spread, etc. (Earlier this week I rolled some up in a large tortilla with grape tomatoes and some fat-free cheese slices and had a delicious lunch!)
Make your tahini by toasting ½ cup of sesame seeds at 350 degrees for 5 – 10 minutes until golden brown. Let them cool for about 15 minutes, then combine with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a food processor, pureeing until creamy.
Mix the tahini with 1-3/4 cups of black-eyed peas (canned is ok, drained but not rinsed); 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice; 1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire; 2 chopped garlic cloves; ½ a chopped green pepper; 1/3 cup spinach (frozen is ok if thawed and the excess water is squeezed out); 1-1/2 tablespoons of chopped onion; and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Put the mixture in the food processor – in batches if necessary - and process briefly to a thick, spreading consistency. (Don’t over-process the mixture; you don’t want it to get creamy!)
Fold in 3 tablespoons of crisp turkey bacon, chopped small. Salt and pepper the mixture to taste.
Remove and discard the yolk of each half egg, and fill the well to slightly heaping with the black-eyed pea filling. (Be careful not to overdo the filling. It will make the eggs look sloppy and, more importantly, will put the egg-to-filling taste out of balance and make it not taste as good.) Top each with a few pieces of diced tomato. (You’ll need about a cup of diced tomato if doing all 48 deviled eggs.) Top each filled egg with a small amount dried parsley.
You’re now ready to serve this delicious – and healthy – treat to friends and family. Just remember to save some for yourself. You don’t want everyone else to have all the good luck, you know! (And why take chances? Grab a donut while you’re at it.)
For a cookbook style, notebook ready copy of this recipe, just let me know in a comment, an e-mail or on Facebook at Kissingthecook Recipes, and I’ll send it along.
A happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, everyone! Now and throughout 2011, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)