DSC_0300Though we do not define ourselves strictly as “southerners,” there are certain things that remind us of “down-home” cooking that we not-so-secretly enjoy indulging in. In the months after we’ve moved, we’ve become increasingly more interested in cooking things from the South and expanding what we have always enjoyed about Southern cooking, into a strictly-vegetarian palate. It sounds like a contradiction, but it’s true! Not everything is chicken & waffles or BBQ. In doing so, this was one of our first ventures into pairing Southern-style foods to make a fully vegetarian meal, not lacking a meat-focused central component. This ended up being dinner AND lunch leftovers one week and while it makes a ton of servings, it certainly fills you up every single time.

We used to eat more greens when we lived in Florida, so this was nice to get back to how we used to cook more frequently. Adding beer only made it better and the recipe was simple, despite being a 2-hour endeavor. One thing I will admit is that we had never eaten black-eyed peas before this trio! I’m not sure where along the lines Will or I managed to miss out on them; despite enjoying a large variety of Southern foods, they’ve never made it onto our plates. This recipe was a hit because they softened almost to the point of mushy, but were plenty flavorful. Out of the trio, they were easily my favorite part. Lastly, we revamped an old cornbread recipe to make it meat-free (Will was admittedly sad about cutting out the bacon) and it worked well – the density did not suffer and it was the perfect contribution to the trio. All in all, this worked well as a group and I suggest trying these individually or together, vegetarian or not!

 

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Cornbread: Will used this recipe for skillet cornbread but omitted the bacon and I believe subbed milk for buttermilk. Most of the cheese ended up on top – use extra!

 

 

Cooking Notes: We used veggie bouillon for this instead of chicken bouillon. We also used fresh thyme instead of dried!

Black Eyed Peas (adapted from DSC_0313Budget Bytes; makes 8 servings)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
6 cups veggie broth
2 bay leaves (whole)
1 large sprig fresh thyme
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
15-20 cranks of fresh ground black pepper

Place your diced onion and minced garlic in your slow cooker; drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil over top. Dump the dry black-eyed peas into a colander, rinsing thoroughly and sifting out any stones. Add the peas to the slow cooker, then add your veggie broth (premixed 6 cups water + 2 tbsp veggie bouillon). Drop in the bay leaves, thyme, red pepper flakes and crank the black pepper in. Stir, then place the lid on the slow cooker, turn on high and let cook 2-4 hours or until soft (3 is usually a good estimate). Serve as a side with other food and enjoy!

Recipe: Budget Bytes: Black Eyed Peas

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Cooking Notes: I believe she recommends a beer like Blue Moon for this and we used an Oktoberfest – really any lighter, wheatier beer will work! Get good collards or even rainbow chard or kale 🙂

Beer-Braised Collards (adapted DSC_0318from Budget Bytes; makes 8 servings)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. light wheat beer
2 cups veggie broth
1 lb. chopped collard greens
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
S&P, to taste
Bring a large skillet (higher edges recommended) to medium heat, then drizzle in your 2 tbsp olive oil. Add your onion and garlic, cooking until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
While your onion and garlic cooks, prep your collard greens. Wash them thoroughly, remove the stems, then cut into 2″ ribbons.
DSC_0306Once your greens are prepped and your onion/garlic are cooked, add the beer, broth, greens, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and S&P to the pot. Place a lid on top, allowing the pot to come to a boil. Once it hits boiling, the collards have wiled enough. Give everything a big stir, then place the lid back on top, reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the collards are to the desired tenderness (up to 2 hours), stirring every 15 minutes or so. Serve as a side and enjoy!

Recipe: Budget Bytes: Beer Braised Collard Greens

 

 

 

 

 

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