End of Summer Bean Medley
Okay, I know summer is over for many but technically, here in the northern hemisphere it ain't over until the big sunny man jumps over the fence, or equator meteorological speaking. Summer officially ends or Fall officially starts, whichever way you look at it, on Friday, Sept 23rd. It happens precisely when the daylight hours and the nighttime are equal, the same, as in 12 fullaroos. Now what does this have to do with today's recipe, not a hill of beans...
Sometimes I find small quantities of beans and peas left over from other cooking days that I merely threw into a bag of mishmash for perhaps a soup or stew. Stored away in the freezer, I feel safer knowing there are goodies stashed away, I know, kind of squirrelly of me.
Sometimes when I have enough for a good helping to stretch around the table, I cook them up and serve them along with other home-style, country offerings. Like the other day when we dined on country-fried steak, lumpy potatoes, smothered with gravy of course, a nonfussed pan of stewed-down crookneck squash, cornmeal muffins and this wonderful blend of Speckle Butterbeans, Butter Peas and Lady Peas.
Some food ya just can't mess up, I mean simple as Simon is this southern way of bringing out the beautiful natural flavor of legumes of all sorts. I have posted a few recipes very similar as I pretty much stick with the basic way taught to me. Enjoy!
Butter Peas, Speckle Butter Beans, Field Pea Medley
4 to 6 cups shelled peas and/or beans, washed and sorted
smoked ham hock, neckbone, cooked fatback or other flavoring meat
chicken stock to cover, about 2 cups
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small bay leaf
1 garlic pod
pinch of sugar
shake of dried thyme and/or oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
couple pats of butter
Place the ham hock or other smoked meat into a medium saucepan along with the chicken stock, onion, bay leaf, garlic pod, sugar and dried seasoning. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium low. Simmer for about 30 minutes to bring out the flavors.
Add the beans. Make sure the beans are covered with about an inch of liquid, if not, add more stock or water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return to a boil and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook slowly until the bean is creamy on the inside but not falling apart, about an hour or so. I like to turn off the heat and let the beans rest in the hot liquid for a while as I go about finishing up other supper dishes. Reheat if needed. To serve, use a slotted spoon to ladle into a bowl, add butter, stir and get ready for fine eating.
SEE ALSO: cooking southern varieties of field peas, creamy, sweet and buttery Lady Peas, and another favorite, black-eyed peas or Hoppin' John.