Sunday, October 11, 2015

Shelling Pea, Corn, and Squash Ragout

Late summer though fall is the season for shelling peas or field peas, and that category includes purple hull peas, creamer peas, and black-eyed peas to name a few. They all grow well here, and I seem to end up making something very similar to the ragout shown here every year at about this time. This year as we received a bag of fresh field peas in our CSA box every other week, I popped the bag into the freezer each time. I also had extra corn that I cut off the cobs and stored in a bag in the freezer. I took my time deciding how to use my frozen stockpile, and I still have more field peas stored away for a different use. The combination of black-eyed peas, sweet and spicy peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, and corn is a classic. I remembered this particular version from the book Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison, and it was just what I wanted. Also, when I make something like this ragout every year, I always make some kind of cornbread to accompany it. This time, I took inspiration from the Breads of the Southwest book for savory scones with cornmeal, jalapenos, and cheddar. Once last thing to include is my fermented okra pickles, and this is the meal that defines the transition from summer to fall for me.

To get started, the fresh, or in my case frozen, black-eyed peas were cooked in water with a bay leaf until tender. I used a mix of sweet and spicy peppers cut into small strips, and those were sauteed in olive oil until softened, and then balsamic vinegar was added and stirred into the peppers. The peppers were set aside, the pan was wiped clean, and sliced summer squash was sauteed and browned. I used some local pattypan squash. The black-eyed peas were drained, and the cooking liquid was reserved. In a Dutch oven, butter was melted for cooking minced onion. After a few minutes, corn, chopped tomatoes, and the drained peas and some of the cooking liquid were added. This mixture was left to simmer for a bit before the cooked squash joined the ragout. A few tablespoons of cream was stirred in at the end. The ragout was served garnished with the sauteed peppers, halved cherry tomatoes, and sliced basil. 

I think I come back to something like this dish every year at the start of fall because it’s hearty and light at the same time. The cooked summer vegetables make a filling but not-too-filling stew, and the raw tomatoes and basil on top brighten up the flavors. And, it’s made for dunking cornbread or cornmeal-jalapeno-cheddar scones. Now, I can choose something new and different for using the rest of my field peas stash. 

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12 comments:

  1. Your presentation is stunning. What a healthy looking ragout. I had bread beans today that had been peeled - now that takes some time! xx

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  2. All right Lisa, I'm going to come to your house for supper! Such a fabulous combination, just what I'd love to eat in the evening. And healthy too...although I'd probably eat too much of that bread!
    I remember as a child sitting on the back stoop shelling peas, shucking corn...all the things my mother probably hated to do and had a rambunctious kid do it for her. :)

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  3. Such soup is a really nice comfort food!

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  4. It looks hearty, healthy, and delicious!

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  5. not only is this an extremely photogenic dish, but it has so many components that i love! garden glory, indeed.

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  6. This looks so perfect for the weather over here..fresh, cozy and delicious.

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  7. wow! Lisa! what a perfect healthy dish! Love the soup!

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  8. I love fresh black-eyed peas! Dried ones, too, but fresh have such a nice quality to them. This looks terrific, and soup weather is here, so very timely. Thanks!

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  9. Hi Lisa, beautiful presentation, and a wonderful combination, love this!

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  10. Deliciously warming and comforting!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  11. Lovely, Lisa -- picture-perfect comfort food with a capital 'C'!

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  12. this looks wonderful so full of flavor

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