Saturday, September 29, 2007

Crowder Succotash

Kind of a bummer day. I was stuck at home with my sick daughter. We both had head colds, mine came with an ear-ache. (God, when was the last time I had an ear-ache? When I was six?). It was hot and humid this morning, then it poured rain all afternoon (more than an inch and counting). We managed to plant some beets, peas and lettuce before the deluge commenced. Oh, I also mowed under some crowder peas, but not before I harvested a few gallons, along with okra and peppers ('Pimientos de Padron'). So, tonight I made a sort of succotash, and served it over mashed sweet potatoes. Very tasty -- more than made up for the wasted day.

Crowder Pea Succotash
- a few rashers (4-6 oz.) of smoked bacon, diced medium
- 2 pounds of sweet potatoes (preferably the white "Japanese" ones), peeled and diced in 1" chunks
- 2 medium onions, diced
- a couple of spicy red peppers, sliced into 1/4" rounds
- a few handfuls of okra, sliced medium
- 3 cups of shelled crowders, with some young beans broken into 1-inch pieces*
- 2 cups of corn (fresh or frozen)
- a can (28 oz.) of tomatoes (I really like Muir Glenn's fire-roasted diced tomatoes)
-"sweet" fresh herbs (like parsley, basil, chives), chopped fine
- salt (I like really flaky sea salt) and freshly ground place pepper, to taste (lots!)

*(or substitue canned black-eyed peas)

In a large cast-iron skillet that you can cover, slowly fry the bacon until crispy. Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, boil the sweet potatoes in salted water until tender. Mash the sweet potatoes, and season to taste with salt, pepper, warm milk, and butter (and we add goat cheese, which binds the potatoes nicely).

When the bacon has crisped, remove it, leaving behind the drippings. Over medium heat, slowly fry onions until they color. Chuck in the pepper, okra, peas, corn and cook slowly for a few minutes.
When everything has softened a bit, dump in the tomatoes, raise the heat, and bring to a merry simmer. Clap the top on, lower the heat to low, and let cook until the okra (in particular) has softened. Serve the succotash over the mashed sweet potatoes, with chopped herbs & reserved bacon sprinkled on top.


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