Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Ethiopian Spices

I have been leveled by PMS this past week, and wanted to write about it since I can’t seem to muster up the desire to write (or think) about anything worthwhile that isn’t maudlin.  In lieu of a typical blog post, I thought I would share a poem with you that I wrote tonight on my commute home:

Hopelessness, negating everything
I was looking forward to yesterday.
It’s a clich√© to say every woman
turns into a monster during her time
of the month.  But I feel the change,
right down to my cells.  Nothing
can alleviate this sensation of dread.
I have to ride it out, like a nasty storm
that causes you to lose your bearings.
And know that when this passes, I will
once again look forward to my favorite things.

DSC_5481DSC_5484And one of my new favorite things is this dish.  I’ve never made an Ethiopian dish before, although I really like Ethiopian food.  This recipe is adapted from one by Marcus Samuelsson, so you know it’s delicious!  A word of caution when making this:  wear gloves when handling the chiles!  I failed to do that and spent several hours with my hands writhing in pain.  After several attempts at trying to wash the oils off, I finally succeeded by slathering my hands in vegetable oil, then washing it off with a mixture of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and a splash of dish detergent. Thanks, Google!  That being said, I could eat this every day. The ginger-garlic-chile trifecta is one of my all-time favorite things. This dish is bursting with flavor; it has a nice level of heat, and the coconut milk adds lovely creaminess which makes it a very satisfying and hearty dish. Let me know what you think in the comments!
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Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Ethiopian Spices

Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups dried black-eyed peas 12 ounces
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large red onion minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 habanero chile seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons berbere seasoning*
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 scallions thinly sliced

Instructions
 

  • In a large saucepan, cover the peas with water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until tender, about 40 minutes.
  • Add a generous pinch of salt and let stand for 5 minutes, then drain well.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chile and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the berbere and turmeric and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes.
  • Add the peas to the sauce and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the peas are lightly coated, about 10 minutes. Fold in the cilantro and scallions and serve.

Notes

*Berbere is an Ethiopian ground red chile spice mix. You can make your own blend or purchase it at a specialty food shop such as kalustyans.com.

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