To get started, the fresh, or in my case frozen, black-eyed peas were cooked in water with a bay leaf until tender. I used a mix of sweet and spicy peppers cut into small strips, and those were sauteed in olive oil until softened, and then balsamic vinegar was added and stirred into the peppers. The peppers were set aside, the pan was wiped clean, and sliced summer squash was sauteed and browned. I used some local pattypan squash. The black-eyed peas were drained, and the cooking liquid was reserved. In a Dutch oven, butter was melted for cooking minced onion. After a few minutes, corn, chopped tomatoes, and the drained peas and some of the cooking liquid were added. This mixture was left to simmer for a bit before the cooked squash joined the ragout. A few tablespoons of cream was stirred in at the end. The ragout was served garnished with the sauteed peppers, halved cherry tomatoes, and sliced basil.
I think I come back to something like this dish every year at the start of fall because it’s hearty and light at the same time. The cooked summer vegetables make a filling but not-too-filling stew, and the raw tomatoes and basil on top brighten up the flavors. And, it’s made for dunking cornbread or cornmeal-jalapeno-cheddar scones. Now, I can choose something new and different for using the rest of my field peas stash.
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