Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fergie is Nothing Next to my Ham Hock

I don't know that there is any food more Southern that black eyed peas. It is one of our blessed traditions in the South to eat black eyed peas on New Years Day, and enjoying them at your dinner table on January 1st is representative of anything from wealth to good health.

It is thought that the tradition of eating black eyed peas for good luck started during the time of the Civil War (think Scarlett pulling up carrots) when Sherman's army took ravaged the South's food resources, but ignored the peas, which are rich in fiber, potassium, and iron.

Our New Year's Day dinner consisted of roast beef and shallots, mashed potatoes, and Hoppin' John black eyed peas for good luck. I learned a few things:

1. Shallots are smaller, mild, bundled onions that you have to travel to 4 stores to find. You will finally find them at the store that is furthest from you, in my case the Kroger store in Forest, VA. God bless Kroger and their unusual offerings of strangely named produce and health foods.

2. Louisiana hot sauce is a unique hot sauce with a Cayenne pepper base and are specifically made in Louisiana and are officially Cajun products.

3. Tying a beef roast is done so the meat will not fall apart.


    1 pound(s) dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and soaked overnight and drained
    3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
    1 package(s) (13- to 14-ounce) kielbasa, sliced 1/2-inch thick
    2 large onions, chopped
    6 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped
    2 (about 1 1/2 pounds total) ham hocks
    4 scallions, thinly sliced
    1 jalapeño pepper (seeded for less heat if desired), thinly sliced, plus more for serving
    Kosher salt
    2 cup(s) long-grain white rice
    Louisiana hot sauce, for serving


    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and   cook, turning once, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes; transfer to a plate.
    Reduce heat to medium, add the onions and remaining tablespoon oil, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
    Return the kielbasa to the pot and add the soaked peas, ham hocks, and 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
    Twenty-five minutes before the peas are done, cook the rice according to package directions.
    Transfer the ham hocks to a plate. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat, discarding the skin and bones. Stir the meat back into the pot along with the scallions, jalapeño, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve over the rice with additional jalapeño and hot sauce, if desired.

4. This horseradish sauce (I used to pass on horseradish but I'm finding the older I get--not that I'm old at all of course--the more I am open to different flavors) is great on meat, but can also be used as a sandwich spread and a dip:


    3 tablespoon(s) mixed peppercorns, black, white, pink, and green
    1 (4-pound) boneless rump or rib roast, at room temperature
    Kosher salt
    1 1/2 pound(s) (about 20) medium shallots
    2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
    3/4 cup(s) sour cream

    1/4 cup(s) prepared horseradish
    2 tablespoon(s) whole-grain mustard
    1/4 cup(s) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the peppercorns in a resealable plastic bag. Using the bottom of a heavy pan, crush the peppercorns.
  2. Tie the beef, if desired, and place in a large roasting pan. Season with the crushed peppercorns and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, pressing gently to help the peppercorns adhere. Roast for 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the shallots, cut them in half, and place in a large bowl. Toss with the oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  4. Scatter the shallots around the roast and continue roasting to desired doneness, 130 degrees F for medium-rare, 40 to 50 minutes more. Transfer the roast to a board and let rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
  5. While the beef rests, make the horseradish sauce. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, horseradish, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; fold in the parsley. Serve with the beef and shallots.


The roast--which was all natural, organic beef from our locally owned meat shop--was $3.47 per serving.

The shallots were $5.15 if you don't include the gas spent trying to find the suckers.

The sauce was $0.48 per serving.

The black eyed peas were $0.94 per serving.

I think we've learned an important lesson together through these recipes.

Skip the cussing shallots.

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