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Smoky Collards, Black-Eyed Peas, and Garlicky Grits

Smoky Collards, Black-Eyed Peas, and Garlicky Grits

Smoky Collards, Black-Eyed Peas, and Garlicky Grits

Serves 4

Gluten-free, peanut-free, nut-free, soy-free

Plan ahead: Recipe requires beans to be soaked overnight or for several hours

Collards and black-eyed peas go together like, well...collards and black-eyed peas!

Collards are in season now and they're loaded with nutrients that are incredibly beneficial for you. The recipe calls for sweet potatoes, but butternut works beautifully as well.

Black-eyed peas are sold in most grocery stores in the "rice and bean" aisle. If you've never tried them, you're missing out! Small and delicate, black-eyed peas have a lovely, fresh, vegetable-like flavor. They cook more quickly than other dried beans and if you soak them overnight, they'll be ready in under 30 minutes.

Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are a versatile pantry staple; soups, stews, dressings, and even tofu scrambles take on a smoky deliciousness when added sparingly. They're often found in the global foods aisle. Crushed red pepper flakes are a suitable substitution here if you don't have chipotles.

And humble grits are often overlooked as a rustic accompaniment to meals up north, which is a shame. Made from dried, ground corn, they provide a luscious creamy base to all sorts of dishes. A generous tablespoon of minced garlic added to the pot while cooking gives grits a little kick of their own. Substitute polenta or your favorite grain or enjoy this dish without grits as a stew.

Comfort food doesn't need to be a guilty pleasure. By using some simple ingredients, you can indulge in scrumptious food that soothes like a big hug every day.

This recipe makes enough for about 4 people, but it's easily doubled!


Collards and Black-Eyed Peas

2 teaspoons olive oil (or use water)

1 medium onion, finely chopped, about 1 cup

1 teaspoon salt

3 large cloves garlic, minced, about 1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight or for several hours

3 cups water

1 bay leaf

1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1/4" pieces, about 2 cups

1 chipotle pepper in adobo, from can, chopped (or use 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)

1/2 bunch of collard greens, stems removed, cut into bite-sized pieces

Juice from one lemon (or use 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar)

Garlicky Grits

3 cups water

1 cup uncooked grits

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Drain the black-eyed peas. Heat oil in a large pot. Add the oil, onion, and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens. Stir in garlic, cumin, and paprika. Cook for a minute or two more until spices and garlic are fragrant. Add the black-eyed peas, water, and bay leaf and cook partially covered over medium heat on a steady simmer for about 25 minutes, until beans are mostly tender. Stir in collards and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and chipotle. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. When the peas, greens, and potatoes are soft, turn off the heat and stir in lemon juice.

To make the grits, bring the water to a gentle boil. Add garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Stir in the grits until smooth and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, while stirring occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Use a long spoon to stir: grits can spurt and bubble while cooking. Taste to ensure grits are tender, if not, add more water and cook for a few more minutes. Refer to the cooking instructions on the package to be sure of the liquid-to-grits ratio and timing.

To serve, scoop grits onto a platter or into individual bowls and ladle collards and beans over with broth. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice. Leftover grits can be reheated by adding a little water and stirring while cooking.

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