In the South, black-eyed peas and greens are the New Years good-luck staple dish. In the New England, we lean toward stocking yellow-eyed beans and Swiss chard in our kitchens. In the instant multi-cooker, this is a snap!
They look a lot alike –– black-eyed peas and yellow-eyed beans, but they have a much different flavor profile, and texture. Both are legumes, and both start out most commonly, and conveniently, as dried beans, simmered for long periods of time, or pressure cooked.
A great substitution
In the South, the good-luck New Year’s “peas” are black-eyed, and often cooked with collard or other sturdy greens, which represent the luck of wealth for the coming year, and some sort of pork product. So I figured, in the North, an obvious substitution is our yellow-eyed beans and Swiss chard for the good luck element. My mom would have probably put a ham bone or salt pork in this during the cooking, but our smoky element here is smoked paprika and some lovely smoked sun-dried tomatoes I found last fall at the farmers market.
Which ever version you choose, if you eat this dish at the New Year, you will start your year off with lots of good nutrition from both the beans and the greens. Although I don’t care for the term “superfoods” if your diet includes both of these foods, you will be one step ahead with what your body needs in vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.
Soak for best results
With dried beans, I’ve had the best luck when I do what my mother did and soak them overnight. If I forget, I’ll get them in the water in the morning so there is plenty of time for them to soak before I cook them under pressure. This hydrates the beans, plumping them up, and it cuts down on cooking time. If you’ve forgotten to do this, then just add a few extra minutes to the pressure cooking, or an hour to the slow simmer.
This dish has a beautiful smoky flavor, and the heartiness of the beans will energize you for a day’s snowshoeing or skiing, or perhaps just a sit by the fire with a good book.
Note: If you cannot find dried yellow-eyed beans, you can substitute any favorite dried bean. It won’t taste the same, but it will still be delicious.
Best of luck in the New Year!
Smoky Yellow-Eyed Beans and Swiss Chard
- 1 lb. dried yellow eyed beans
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion or leek, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Stems and ribs from the bunch of Swiss chard, diced
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. salt
- 6 cups water
- 1 bunch of Swiss chard, leaves
- 1/3 cup smoked sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
Place the beans in a large bowl of salted water and soak six hours or overnight.
Once the beans have soaked, you’re ready to begin. Drain them and set aside.
Set the multi-cooker for sauté, heat the olive oil and add the onion or leek, celery, and carrots. Cook until onions are translucent and add the garlic, chard stems, paprika, allspice, bay leaf, and salt. Cook another minute or until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the beans and water and secure the top, making sure not to have it set to vent. Set the pot for pressure cook 20 minutes on high. If you have not soaked your beans, you will need to cook them at pressure for 25 to 30 minutes.
If you are using a regular stock pot, after the sauté add the liquid, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for two to three hours, or even longer in a really slow oven. You want the beans soft but still keeping their shape.
Once the beans have cooked, allow the pressure to release naturally. Remove the bay leaf, add the Swiss chard and the smoked sun-dried tomatoes. Put the instant pot back on sauté and cook until the chard has softened to where you want it. For me, this happens in about a minute! Check the seasoning, and add a tablespoon or so of cider vinegar. Keep warm.
Serve as a side or main dish, drizzling with a bit more of olive oil, and perhaps a sprinkle of crispy croutons or scallions.
Tear apart a few slices of whole-grain or whole-grain gluten-free bread; uneven shapes
are perfect! Heat a sauté pan and add 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter or alternative. Once hot, add the bread and sauté quickly for a minute or so. Drain on a paper towel.
You can also do this by spraying with oil and baking in a hot oven until crisp.
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