Sunday, 21 December 2008

pois gris: the mystery legume of midwinter

Today I spent most of the day making truffles for the holidays. So by the end of the day, I knew that I'd be wanting something salty. I put on some field peas (pois gris) to soak last night, and let them simmer away for a good part of the afternoon while we truffled away as kind of a wierd, chocolate-addict's solistice meditation.

Some time ago, I got some pois gris from someone, and I was never quite sure what to do with them. I mean, I'd never seen them before, and I haven't seen them since. I tried a few things, and most of them were okay. But this, it turns out, is exactly what I should do, and if I come across pois gris/field peas again, I will most certainly repeat this dish: onion, garlic, soup stock (or white wine), a can of tomatoes, liquid smoke, oregano, thyme, nutmeg, pomegranite molasses (or a bit of maple syrup + a fair splash of lemon if that's easier for you), tvp, pois gris, kale, salt and pepper. Smoky goodness. I ate this on rice and it was lovely for winter, and perfect for a homey dark day spent getting ready for the holiday decadence ahead. For those of you who are wondering, I think any bean that keeps it's shape well would probably work for this, like navy, pinto, small fava beans, or even kidney beans.

Just in case you were wondering, this year's truffle flavours are: vanilla salt, balsamic vinegar, basil, toasted cumin. For the basil, I extracted some good dried basil in olive oil, and then used the oil.

dark, homey music for days when the sun sets in midafternoon: bach's coffee cantata (for the secularists among us)

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