January's Dish: Black-eyed Pea Cakes and Collard Greens with Sweet Potato



1/2 pound dry black-eyed peas

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 medium sweet potato or garnet yam (peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces)

1 tablespoon olive oil 4 tablespoons bacon fat (divided)

1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1 small yellow onion (finely chopped)

2 cups finely chopped collard greens

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 6 slices bacon

How To:

1. Pour the black-eyed peas into a large mixing bowl, stir in a pinch of baking soda and cover with warm water by two inches. Allow the peas to soak for 12 to 18 hours, then drain, rinse well and set the peas to boil in a large pot until soft - about 1 hour. Drain them once more, and set them aside.

2. Toss sweet potato with oil and roast at 425 F for 45 minutes, until tender. Turn once or twice.

3. While the peas boil and the potatoes roast, melt 2 tablespoons bacon fat in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions and fry until translucent and fragrant - 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in greens and continue cooking until tender - about 8 minutes.

4. Combine peas, collards and onions with arrowroot powder, paprika, cayenne and salt in a food processor and process until they form a uniform mash. Fold in the roasted sweet potato.

5. Take the mash by hand and form it into 6 patties about 4 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick. Wrap them in bacon. 

6. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons bacon fat in a cast-iron skillet. Fry the patties in batches, about 5 minutes on each side. Serve hot with a good sauce, gravy or mayonnaise.

Thank you to Nourished Kitchen for this delicious New Year's recipe tradition.