Middle-Eastern-Style Hoppin’ John and Carrots over Wilted Spinach

You might be thinking, hum, a little late for this recipe.  Would have been nice to have it for New Year’s Day, and you’re probably right about that.  However, this is such a yummy recipe that you’ll want to add this to your cadre of ‘go-to’ dishes. It presents so beautifully that it will add elegance to any dinner table or buffet any time of the year. Let’s make some Hoppin’ John and Carrots!

Make extra of the spice mix.  It’s one that you’ll want to use as seasoning for your air-fried tofu or instant-pot tempeh, of just to sprinkle on your veggies instead of the typical salt/pepper.

For the Spice Mix

5 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 medium-size nutmeg

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon sumac seeds

½ teaspoon cardamom seeds

2 teaspoons Himalayan sea salt

 

Other Ingredients

1 cup dried black-eye peas, soaked

3 cups unchicken broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon saffron fronds soaked in 1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons rose water

3 tablespoons spice mix

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups thinly-sliced carrots

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons agave

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 pound baby spinach

  • Prepare spice mix using a spice/coffee grinder. Break cinnamon sticks into small pieces and grind to a powder.  Add to a small mixing bowl.  Grind remaining spice mix ingredients and add to cinnamon to combine.  Set aside.
  • Cook the black-eyed peas. Drain the soaking peas and add to a pressure cooker with the unchicken broth.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, then instant release.  Drain (set aside ½ cup of cooking liquid) and set aside. If you haven’t soaked the peas beforehand, then cook for 20-25 minutes.
  • In large sauté pan or wok, or paella/biryani pan, gently heat the oil, adding in the garlic. Cook garlic until slightly softened; but do not brown.
  • In a small mixing bowl, make a slurry out of the saffron and soaking water, rose water, and spice mix. Add to wok, and gently ‘fry’ for one minute, or until fragrant.
  • Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add additional unchicken broth, using the reserved black-eye pea cooking liquid, if needed.
  • Add carrots and bell pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are cooked through but remain slightly toothsome, adding additional pea cooking liquid as and if needed.
  • Stir in agave and lemon juice.
  • Add black-eyed peas and continue cooking until warmed throughout.
  • Just before serving, stir in parsley.
  • On a large serving platter or individual bowls, arrange the spinach in a shallow layer.
  • Top spinach with hot carrots and black-eyed peas.
  • Sprinkle additional parsley and spice mix on the dish, if desired.

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*An important aspect of sharing original recipes is to give proper credit to the author(s) of the recipe(s).  I hope that you enjoy using these recipes and making them your own; but please do so with that integrity in mind. With much gratitude. - Linda

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