The following is a re-enactment of what may, or may not have occurred.
Late at night, lurking in the dark shadows of the pantry, there it was, screaming to come out. Again and again it taunted me, repeatedly chanting, “Use me! USE ME!” I tried to run away and forget the whole frightening thing, but there I stood, frozen with fear. The spell of the Berbere seasoning had been cast and it kept pulling me back.
October’s Recipe Redux theme, “Spooky Spices” challenges members to use a seasoning that we have been afraid to use. I was able to face my fears and use the berbere seasoning in this Pink-eyed Pea with Coconut Milk and Berbere recipe and I am so glad I did.
Berbere is a seasoning used often in Ethiopian cuisine. It is quite an unusual blend of spices including cayenne, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cardamom, cumin, allspice, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon and coriander. I was originally afraid it might be too spicy and overpowering but it was not. Instead the seasoning transformed this dish into something out-of-this-world good.
This recipe is adapted from a recipe published in the latest issue of Food & Wine. I swapped the black-eyed peas for pink-eyed peas that I had left over and stored in the freezer after making the 4 Bean Salad in a Cumin Oil and Lime Dressing. I also subbed coconut oil for the butter in the original recipe. And to tame the heat a bit, I used a jalapeno rather than a habanero. If you don’t already have berbere seasoning lurking in the back of your pantry, check out Penzeys Spices.
Pink-eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Berbere
- 2 cups frozen pink-eyed peas (or black-eyed peas)- ours from DeMange Farm, St. Jabob, IL)
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1/2 large onion, minced (from our Local Chef CSA box)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced finely
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- 2 tsp. berbere seasoning (ours from Penzeys Spices)
- 3 medium tomatoes, chopped (proudly grown in my garden!)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Place frozen peas in a bowl, allow to thaw.
- Meanwhile, in a large wok or skillet, heat coconut oil. Add onion, ginger, garlic and cook over medium heat until softened and starting to brown, about 7 minutes.
- Add jalapeno and berbere seasoning, and cook, while stirring, about 2 more minutes.
- Add tomatoes, allow to cook a few more minutes, then add the coconut milk and broth. Allow mixture to come to a boil, then lower to simmer and cook until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Add thawed peas to sauce, and cook until heated through, about 5 more minutes.
- Top with fresh cilantro and serve.