(I’ll post a picture later)
Start with FRESH steamed black eye peas (not from the can or dried in the bag). You can get these in some grocery stores around New Year’s, or you might be able to get them at Traders Joes. “Melissa’s” is the name of one brand. You can freeze them. If you use fresh black eyes peas, they taste incredibly good and do not need much seasoning at all. They taste buttery, fresh, earthy, and delicate. Fresh ones also only need to be heated up for a couple of minutes.
(these measurements are estimates)
Fresh Black Eye Peas (in water or steamed) 1 – 2 cups
Fresh Celery Stalks diced (about 5 or 6)
1 White Onion diced
2 carrots shredded
1 can of chicken stock
cornstarch and cold water (for the slip, aka roux)
andouille sausage (about 8 inches chopped)
shrimp (about 1 cup)
Blackening Creole Seasoning, Old Bay Seasoning, Celery Seeds, Paprika, Cayenne (use a little pinch of each or season to taste)
STEW: Fry the sausage in the bottom of a pot. Take it out, set it to the side and use the drippings to saute the onion briefly. Add a little oil if there isn’t enough to keep the onions just barely glistening. Add the sausage back in and add the chicken stock and beans and a pinch of celery seeds and 1 big bay leaf. Cover and bring to boil. As soon as it gets a boil going, turn down to medium. Smooth about 1 -3 tablespoons (more for thicker sauce, less for thinner) in the cold water and then slowly drizzle it into the soup while stirring until theres no more slip. Make sure the mix returns to bubbling hot and then turn it down to simmer again. Add 2/3 of the carrots. Add two thirds of the celery. Add the shrimp. Keep the simmer going for 1 minute. Adjust your seasoning. Then turn off the flame, keep it covered and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Halfway through the last 10 minutes, add the last of the celery and carrots. Stir and cover again. The shrimp will continue cooking but should not overcook and should not make the stew taste “seafoody”. The last veggies will turn crisp and brightly colored to add an uplift to the dish.
FRITTERS: Using a box of cornbread mix, follow the instructions for fritters or corncakes. You’re usually adding one egg (first), a bit of oil (second), and some milk (drizzling in last and slowly). (I use unsweetened soy milk sometimes also). Add fresh corn kernals to the mix (as you would blueberries for example). Stir. the mix should get down to consistency of a pancake mix. Oil or butter a pan, ladel in the mix (like a pancake) and flip each fritter when it starts to bubble and firm up like a pancake.
Serve the Stew on top of the Fritters. For additional green, saute strips of collards greens, or asparagus, or serve some green salad on the side. This stew works lovely with rice as well although I prefer fritters because they’re a bit more exotic.