A humble little legume

Here in the south (YES Kentucky is in the south… the Mason-Dixon line says so) there is a tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.  Their shape and abundance represent coins, and they are thought to bring prosperity.

Wow that’s a lot of pressure on a humble little legume!!!

It is also tradition to accompany them with a leafy green vegetable, such as kale, collards, or cabbage, the leaves of which are the color of money, again assuring prosperity. I’m not typically superstitious but I can get behind this delicious one!

I always get the urge to clean, rearrange, and organize stuff right after Christmas.  Good thing, too, because it’s the only workout I get during the holidays.)

So in an effort to clean out my fridge, I used some leftover Italian roast beef I’d thrown in the freezer afew weeks back.  It had some yummy sauce with it, so I used it instead of the stew beef and omitted the tomato paste.

I added some brown rice to my serving and enjoyed it with some Glory brand seasoned collard greens, which I hit with a little red wine vinegar.  A leafy green salad could substitute; it would be a good way to get back to healthy eating after over-indulging on sugar, carbs, and alcohol for six weeks.

If you’re southern… if you’re superstitious… even if you’re neither… it’s a great meal to to assure luck and prosperity for the coming year.  All thanks to a humble little legume!

Happy 2011!

Lentil Soup

Serves 6

1 lb beef stew meat, cut into small pieces (or leftover beef roast)

3 T olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 T tomato paste

2 T Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

6 cups beef broth

Salt and pepper to taste

½ pound lentils, rinsed and inspected for rocks and other weird stuff

¼ cup hot sauce

¼ cup dry sherry

Heat olive oil in a 3 quart saucepan over medium-hi heat.  Add beef in two batches, and brown the surface, about 3-4 minutes per batch. (Omit this step if using leftover beef.)  Remove the meat and set aside.  Add the onion, carrots, and garlic; saute until the onion is translucent.  Add the meat to the pan along with the remaining ingredients except the hot sauce and sherry, and stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer, then  reduce the heat to low.  Simmer and stir occasionally for 30-40 minutes, or until lentils are soft.  Add the hot sauce and sherry, adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Aside | This entry was posted in beef, lentils, soup. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A humble little legume

  1. Michelle says:

    Very impressive blog, and educational too! I didn’t know the story behind the black-eyed peas and greens tradition until today!

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