The one-pot meals of the eastern Mediterranean ingeniously combine seasonal vegetables, herbs, and greens with small amounts of meat to create delicious dishes that seem to be designed by a modern nutritionist.
Photo by Anastasios Mentis.
Makes 4 servings
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1/ 3 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1/ 2 pound lean ground lamb
1 to 2 tablespoons Turkish pepper paste or harissa (North African pepper paste)
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes with their juice
1 to 3 teaspoons Aleppo or Maras pepper or a pinch of hot red pepper flakes, to taste
1 cup dry white wine, vegetable stock, or water
Leaves from 1 bunch of chard, coarsely chopped
Place the peas in a medium saucepan, add cold water to cover by 2 inches, and bring
to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes and drain.
Add fresh water to cover the peas and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the peas are just tender. Drain.
Warm the olive oil in a skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté, sprinkling with salt to taste, for about 4 minutes, or until tender.
Add the meat and sauté until firm and no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Add the pepper paste and toss for 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes, Aleppo pepper, peas, and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the peas are very tender. Add the chard and toss to wilt. There should be only a little sauce in the pan; the dish must have the consistency of a moist pilaf. If it is too watery, increase the heat for a few minutes to reduce the sauce. Taste and add salt, along with pepper if you like. Serve in soup plates or bowls.