Monday, April 20, 2009

Potaje de Frijoles de Carita (Black Eyed Pea Stew)

A couple months ago I had bought a bag of black eyed peas that I wanted to use to make "Bollitos de Carita" (Cuban Black Eyed Pea Fritters) but unfortunately I needed a food processor and mine had broken before I was able to prepare them so I wasn't so sure what exactly to do with the black eyed peas.

I had many different idea's, googled around, etc. and what caught my attention was a Cuban black eye pea stew recipe I had found online called "Frijoles de Carita Estilo Guajiro" which was from a book called, "“Delicias de la Mesa - Manual de Cocina y Repostería” by Srta. María Antonieta Reyes Gavilán & Moenck edited in 1925 in Havana, Cuba. I found it interesting and didn't know Black Eyed Peas where used for Cuban stews.

So that day when I visited my Tata I told her about the recipe I had found and she gave me a weird face and said, "Ñame con Papa?" meaning, "True Yam with Potatoes?" she said it in disapproval like meaning, "What the hell that's weird, true yam and potato in the stew at the same time? Why?" because the recipe I had found called for both in it.

So as the conversation passed my Tata told me she used to make a black eyed pea stew made in a similar fashion but was still different and she added "Calabaza" and Potatoes instead. My grandmas recipe sounded like a winner and I tried it a couple days later and do not regret it, it had become one of my favorite bean stews and I will make it more often from now on. I was exited to make it because I had never made it before or had it in my life, my Dad told me he hadn't had that stew since he was in his fifth teens, and when I made it he said it was just how he remembered it :)

The stew is delicious, filling, and rich. It has Spanish Chorizo, generous amounts of pork meat, a flavorful sofrito, some cuban spices and delicious chunks of potatoes and calabaza, it is just heaven with some hot steaming white rice or crusty bread.

The recipe below makes a large batch so you may want to cut it in half or so, I used the whole recipe it makes about 12-14 large servings but leftovers are delicious and it's a one pot meal.

-1 lbs. dried Black Eyed peas
-1 lb. pork stew meat cut into small chunks
-2 lbs. pork neck bones (I like pork neck bones because it's meaty you can use plain ones)
-2- 4 medium Spanish Chorizo's (or 1 large one cut in 4, NOT MEXICAN CHORIZO but SPANISH as in SPAIN)
-1 whole square of salt pork
-1 large onion finely minced
-1 large bell pepper finely minced
-1 head of garlic, peeled mashed to a paste (mortar or garlic press)
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce
-1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
-1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano crumbled
-3 teaspoons salt at least
-1 medium sized Calabaza (you can use Butternut Squash, Hubbard, or Banana Squash peeled cut into large chunks)
-4 all purpose potatoes or 4 small "Malanga/ Taro root (peeled cut into large chunks)
-4 tablespoons or more lard

(1)Wash black eyed peas, and put in a large pot and cover with enough water to submerge about 2 inches below water, bring to a boil.

(2)While waiting for the black eyed peas to boil, wash all meat really well several times I wash it several times then rub it with lime juice and salt to further clean it and rinse it again a couple times.

(3)Now when black eyed peas are boiling add the pork neck bones, pork stew meat, salt pork, and Spanish chorizo, as well as 3 teaspoons salt incorporate well, make sure there's enough water to cover the meats. Boil together for about 40 minutes (check if the beans are tender it may take longer)

(4)Meanwhile prep the rest of the stuff, start your sofrito, heat a large pan with generous amounts of lard and when it melts and is hot at medium high heat add minced onion and bell pepper, sautee stirring occasionally for 7 minutes, add garlic sautee another 2-3 minutes, add cumin and oregano and a pinch of salt and sautee together 1 minute. Add more lard if it doesn't seem oily enough, now add the tomato sauce and let it simmer uncovered and reduce for about 5-10 minutes more, until the tomato reduces and it becomes thicker and you can see the oil and it has significantly reduced. Turn off heat. It really is worth it in this recipe to cook down the sofrito this much the flavor is well worth it, especially reducing the tomato and intensifying the flavors.

(5)While making the sofrito you can peel and cube the calabaza and potateos and leave the potateos in water so it doesn't oxidize and also clean up any messed in the kitchen.

(6)When beans are tender, add the sofrito, taste for salt, mix well and add the calabaza and potatoes, simmer until potateos and calabaza are tender about 10-15 minutes but no more that 20.

(7)Your done turn off heat, remove chorizo's and salt pork, cut chorizos into small slices and salt pork into small chunks and stir back into the stew. It's ready to serve and tastes much better the next day :) You can serve it over rice or just throw the rice on top or serve the rice on the side.

You need a really large pot for this recipe I am not kidding if it's not big enough everything will be crushed and overcrowded.

Also do not super over cook the beans you want them to be soft but to hold it's shape to.

Oh yeah I find it interesting how in Spanish we call the beans "Frijoles de Carita" (meaning Beans of face) because the little black figures look like faces? But then in the English speaking world they call it "Black Eyed Peas"? because I guess the black markings can also be thought of as eyes? Interesting how different cultures see things differently.



I recieved this award from Marilyn from My Cuban Traumas, it's called "Premio de Oro" (prize of gold?) her blog feautures some Cuban recipes, and some American stuff and anything she may please or like to share about food, etc. check out her wonderful blog (it is in Spanish)

So in this award we are suppose to list 7 things about our personalities and pass on the prize (like a chain)

Here goes mine (About me):
*I am a huge foodie.
*I love to learn about other cultures and am extremely open minded and open to new idea's.
*I am a loving person and will defend those I care for and stand up for them.
*I will always be there for those I love
*I enjoy reading food blogs and sharing my culture through a culinary perspective (duh)
*I don't like sports (sorry)
*I don't watch much television
*I am sort of a health freak, and into my personal fitness, even if I may eat sweets sometimes or lots of meat, I still eat my vegetables, exercise, and don't big out and enjoy both the healthy and unhealthy stuff of course EVERYTHING in moderation.

I pass this award to:
*Karen Brown Letarte from Domestic Muse (wonderful different American and a little bit of everything cooking)
*Jose from Arroz y Frijoles (Cuban food)
*Joan Nova from Foodalogue (all sorts of stuff some Latin fusion)
*Nuria from Spanish Recipes (the title say's it all)
*Pilar from "Entre Fogones y Lacenas" (Spanish recipes)
*Pilar Lechuza from "La Cocina de Lechuza" (Galician homecooking)
*Lily from "Lily's Wai Sek Hong" (very good skilled baker, and many Asian recipes plenty of Southeast Asian stuff to, a good Malaysian cook I believe)
*UT Man from "Overseas Pinoy" (authentic Filipino food)