We’re a few days past Labor Day and that means we’re instantly ready for stews and sweaters and pumpkin with our spice. I get it. We’re ready for any kind of familiar change that will liven up and steady this heck of a year. I don’t really mind a few more weeks in my white dress and a few more steamy walks down to the river but heck if I’m ready to make it out of fire and hurricane season.
Let’s fall back into some of fall’s comforts. It might be a little early but that just means there will be plenty of time to settle in.
Here’s what you’ll need for today’s hearty dinner idea:
• A few links of Italian sausage uncased. You could also totally use a vegetarian sausage alternative. For another easily vegetarian comfort dish see: Caramelized Mushroom and Dumplings.
• Frozen and thawed black eyed peas. (Canned would work just fine too – the beans will just break down a bit more during simmering.)
• Onions and garlic and thyme to make everything taste stewy.
• Chicken or vegetable stock.
• For the dumplings: cornmeal and flour, leavening and salt, buttermilk and green onions. Add any other herb or cheese you might think is nice, too!
Let’s start by browning the sausage.
We’re building flavors here and I like to start by giving the sausage a hard sear – so much that it sticks to the bottom of the pan a bit. That’s ok. We’ll get all those delicious bits up.
Add the onion and saute until the onion is soft, translucent and beginning to brown.
This takes about 5, maybe 7 minutes.
Add the peas, thawed and drained.
Give the mixture a good stir and you’ll start to see some of the browned bits come up off the bottom.
Add the broth. Add the thyme.
Give it time but bring everything to a low simmer.
While the beany soup comes to a simmer, hustle together the dumpling batter.
Start with cornmeal, flour, leavening and salt.
Give it all a whisk and add the cold butter chunks.
Once the cold butter is broken down into bits, toss in the green onions.
Chives, parsley, or thyme would be good substitutes or additions to these dumplings. Really – add anything that sounds like it belongs. Grated cheddar even? Sure!
Pour in the buttermilk and stir into a wet but smooth batter.
It’s ok if there are a few lumps from the herbs, but please no lumps of dry ingredients hiding out in our batter.
Make sure the soup is simmering and using two big spoons or an ice cream scoop, dollop eight or nine spoonfuls of batter into the simmering liquid.
Cover the pot, turn down the heat, and wait for the magic to happen.
Let the dumplings simmer for 10 minutes before removing the lid.
They’ll be puffy and float. Feel free to remove one of the dumplings and cut through it to test its doneness. Add a good dash of fresh herbs just before serving.
Generously spoon into bowls and add plenty of hot sauce.
This is the kind of dinner you enjoy on the couch with a movie. Settle in. Let it be cozy.
Photos with my friend Jon Melendez. This recipe is adapted from a Weight Watchers Magazine recipe I found at my mom’s house. Thanks Mom! Thanks Weight Watchers!Print
Black Eyed Peas with Cornbread Dumplings
A warm and comforting weeknight dinner fall!
- Prep Time: 35
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4 1x
- For the Black Eyed Peas:
- 2 Italian sausage link, uncased
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 clove garlic, minced (a scant 1 tablespoon)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 (16 ounce) package frozen black eyed peas (about 2 1/4 cups)
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste if desired
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- For the Dumplings:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- For Garnish:
- Hot sauce
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Heat a large dutch oven (I used a 10-inch wide pan) over medium heat. Add the uncased sausage and cook, breaking the sausage up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Once the sausage has released some oil and started to cook through add the onions. Cook until onions are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add chicken stock, peas, water, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, partially cover the pan and reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- While the beans simmer make the cornbread dumplings. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter cubes and break the butter bits into the dry ingredients until the butter bits resemble oat flakes. Toss in the scallions. Add the butter milk and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Once the beans have simmered to tender, spoon the cornbread batter into the simmering beans, making 8-12 dumplings. Cover and allow to simmer for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy warm with a sprinkle of parsley and hot sauce.
- I find that this dish is best the day its made but you can store leftovers in the fridge and reheat gently on the stovetop within a day or two.