Better late than never, huh?
The Hubby and I spent most of the second half of December traipsing across the midwest and eastern US. And while we had a blast staring in awe at Richmond’s Tacky Light Tour and scarfing down more White Castle than I’d like to admit, it ended up wearing us completely out. By the time we got home we were both sick with something I suspect my germ-factory niece passed on. (Those germs are sneaky, sneaky…disgusing themselves in the form of an adorable and hilarious 3 year-old.) In fact, it was well into the first weekend of this year before I really felt like doing much of anything, including cooking.
BUT!! This nasty bug did not stop me from upholding the most southern of new years traditions–black eyed peas on New Year’s Day. These humble little legumes are supposed to bring luck to those who eat them on the first day of the year. And since the general consensus is the more you eat, the more luck you’ll have, we always have a huge pot going each year. And really, what’s not to like about a big ol pot of black eyed peas? Especially when you pair it with a good batch of homemade cornbread. Slather the bread in butter and you’ll have a decent amount of “grease” to coat your (possibly) hung over belly.
I have to admit, I didn’t make this cornbread on new year’s day. (I made it in early December for an office potluck.) I felt like poo on NYD, so I used a box mix. But had I been feeling better, I definitely would have put out the teensy bit of extra effort this recipe requires. Because seriously guys, this is the Best. Cornbread. You. Will. Ever. Have. I wish I could take credit for the recipe, but it’s the creation of Jack Gilmore (executive chef and owner of Z’Tejas). Back in November I took a cooking class of his and was lucky enough to get this as well as a handful of other recipes. I know at least one of the ingredients will have you scratching your head, but I promise that if you give it a try you will not be disappointed.
Black Eyed Peas
24 oz. of fresh black eyed peas
3-4 oz. of salt pork, chopped into 1/2″ chunks
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2-3/4 yellow onion, finely chopped
In a large pot, add peas, onions, garlic and pork. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until tender. Don’t forget about your peas, or they’ll start losing their outter “skin” (see my pictures below).
Sweet Corn Cornbread
1 1/2 c. Lamb’s corn meal (or other stone ground corn meal)
1 1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. + 1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of baking soda
1 c. of nonfat plain yogurt
1/3 c. + 1 tablespoon of cream corn
1/3 c. + 1 tablespoon of frozen corn
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
3 large eggs
1/3 c. + 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Preheat oven and 10″ castiron skillet in a 400F oven.
Mix all dry ingredients together. In a large mixing bowl, whisk all wet ingredients together (including corn). Add dry ingredients to form batter.
Pour half of batter into skillet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Test by using a toothpick in the center of the cornbread. Toothpick should come out clean, but moist. Turn skillet over to remove and start second batch. Do NOT store cornbread in skillet.
*Do NOT try to force all the batter into one skillet. If you do you’ll end up with this:
In order to keep the spillage off the bottom of my oven, I put a cookie sheet under the skillet and ended up with this pretty ring o’ cornbread.