I would say that my prior experience with beans has been rather limited. I ate baked beans at many an occasion growing up, but beyond that, we didn't eat a lot of them. Then, in walked my growing knowledge of nutrition and a smaller pocketbook (wait, smaller? How could it get any smaller than a college budget? No, not smaller, just more careful). Once I knew I wanted to try some things with beans, I found lots of options. I tried topping spaghetti with seasoned white beans. Yum! I added navy beans to a delicious roasted tomato pasta a la Ellie Krieger. Finally, I made one of my favorites, black bean and sweet potato tacos.
Typically I have used canned beans, but for this experiment, I used a bag of dried black eyed peas. Dang, they are thrifty.
I used a whole bag of beans, about 2 cups dried, and soaked them in water overnight. The next day they had plumped up considerably, but at this point you still have to cook them. I looked online for some black eyed pea recipes. I found two that caught my eye.
1. The Pioneer Woman's Black Eyed Pea Dip
2. The New York Times' Moroccan Black Eyed Peas (which I now cannot find the recipe for!)
I decided to try both simultaneously. Dangerous, I know.
The Moroccan dish takes a lot of great seasonings--tomato, cumin, paprika, garlic, and onion. I loved the delicious smell of these beans while they cooked. It took about an hour for the peas to bulk up and for the sauce to thicken. Again, the smell was heavenly.
The taste, unfortunately was not what I expected. With all of those wonderful spices, I thought they would have more flavor. But they weren't bad. They just weren't great. So I threw them in the fridge to add as a side dish throughout the week.
The dip, obviously, was a different story. I mean, when you look at the ingredients, you just know you're going to like it. Sour cream, cheese, salsa...the list goes on. How bad could that be?
I didn't even measure anything for this dish. I just used whatever beans were left and cooked them with a jalapeno. Then I put them in an oven safe dish and smashed them (I would say there were probably two cans worth of beans if you bought them canned). Then I grated some cheddar cheese, plopped on some sour cream and added a splash of salsa, salt and pepper. Then I mixed it all together and baked it.
Well, Pioneer Woman, you've done it again. Damn you and your delicious recipes!! Not really, I love you. I do, and I'm glad you're going to have a Food Network Show. I'm going to tape it.
I made this dip for mi familia when they came to visit--and honestly--I got about two bites. So you know what I did?
I took those leftover Moroccan beans and made them into the dip, too. Waste not, want not, that's what I always say.