Monday, January 2, 2012

Smoky black-eyed pea fritters with braised greens

It's a Southern tradition to have collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. Collards are eaten because they symbolize money and fortune while peas are thought to bring good luck. Every year as long as I can remember, my mom would make cornbread, collard greens drizzled with vinegar, and black-eyed peas cooked with ham. Some believe the more you eat, the richer and luckier you will become. Do you have any New Year's traditions?
I decided to start our own tradition this year. I braised collard greens in vinegar and made smoky black-eyed pea fritters with tomatoes for dinner. The collards are cooked long and slow, but are silky from the olive oil and flavored with the vinegar. The fritters get their smokiness from smoked paprika and chili powder. Instead of using eggs and breadcrumbs in the fritters, I substituted millet, which makes them gluten free and vegan. When cooking millet, start with cold water if you want a creamier texture, which is perfect for these fritters or these croquettes. If you were to add the millet to hot water, it would keep the grains intact, which is ideal for a pilaf.
I topped the fritters with diced tomatoes marinated in a little olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and white balsamic vinegar. They add a little color and texture to the dish. These fritters would make an excellent vegan appetizer as they make great finger food.
Smoky black-eyed pea fritters
Adapted from Cafe Flora
2.5 c black-eyed peas, cooked
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 celery stalks, small dice (.25 in.)
1/4 onion, small dice (.25 in.)
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
3/4-1 c cooked millet

Preheat oven to 350.

Add all the ingredients to the food processor, except the millet. Pulse about 4 times, scrap down the sides, and pulse a few more times. You should have a rough coarse meal. Add mixture to a large bowl with the millet. Mix well with hands. Form 1 inch patties with hands. If the mixture is still too wet, add more millet. This recipe should yield 22-25 small 1 inch patties. I like to keep them smaller, so they get crispier.

Bake on an oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes, flip patties over, and baked for another 8-10 minutes on the other side. Remove from oven and top with tomato mixture.

Braised collard greens
1 bunch collard greens
~1/4 c olive oil
1/2 medium sweet onion
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash of red chili flakes
1/4-1/2 c cider vinegar

Rinse collard greens well, sometimes they're rather sandy. Remove stems and dice small. Cut leaves into thin ribbons or bite-size pieces. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or large saute pan. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Next add the garlic, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Saute for about 2 minutes, then add the collard stems. Cook for about 5 minutes, reduce heat to low, and add the leaves. You might need to add the leaves in two bunches, stirring to make room for the rest of the greens. Add the vinegar and stir well. Cover. Cook for about 45 minutes. Check the greens from time-to-time, stirring, to make sure they aren't dry. If so, add a bit more vinegar or water. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste. They taste even better the next day.


la domestique said...

I grew up in Arkansas where we always ha black eyed peas for New Years luck, and they weren't very tasty at all. Your little fritters look great, though. I like to serve a black eyed pea bowl with grated pepper jack cheese and bacon. :)

Kelsey said...

I feel ashamed for never trying black eyed peas before. Did you know they are Oprah's favorite food? My tradition, as of late, has been airports. I'd like to change that though. These look great, would love to give them a try soon :) Happy New Year!

Unknown said...

Jess that bowl sounds delicious! Great idea for leftovers.

Kelsey, I didn't know that! You should definitely try them :) Happy New Year to you too!

Stephanie said...

Those black eyed pea fritters look so cute and delicious! I found you through My New Roots. Great recipe ideas here.

Mike said...

Would this taste funny if I used apple cider vinegar instead of regular vinegar.