Cowboy Caviar (aka Black Eyed Pea Salsa)

About 6 months ago, my friend E took me to a restaurant where she sometimes worked and sometimes just ate and drank... After hearing so many stories that involved this place, i finally said 'ok, i want to go too!' and so we did.

While there, we did many things, (not the least of which was drink lots and play with stupid iphone/ipod apps) but the thing that stood out the most was the Black Eyed Pea salsa & chips... When E insisted on ordering it, i was skeptical - i'd never eaten a black eyed pea and wasnt sure i wanted to start on that particular day... not to mention that, during this time, with wedding diet still in full mode, i wasnt sure i wanted to waste calories on salsa & chips...  but she insisted - we HAD to get this...

she wasnt wrong.  this was not plain old salsa and chips... (and we can probably blame a half-lb or so of unlost weight on this stuff...)

Luckily, due to E's connections to this particular restaurant, we could get a basic idea of how it was made... The first time i saw the recipe, i dismissed it as too complicated but when superbowl sunday rolled around last week, i emailed E and said - ok, i'm gonna try it...

(and no, before you asked, it was NOT an homage to the half-time show...  we banned that stupid 'band' from our wedding and i'd like to ban them from my life!!!)


I dont know how close mine is to the original (given that i havent been there in more than 6 months) but i do know that its good. it definitely seemed to be a crowd-pleaser on super bowl sunday and bonus points? its better if you make it a day early, making it one of those fantastic recipes for entertaining as there is no scrambling around at the last minute while you are simultaneously trying to finish vacuuming, showering and also opening the door for the first few guests...

Cowboy Caviar (aka Black Eyed Pea Salsa)
courtesy of scribbled restaurant (unnamed to protect the innocent) notes as interpreted by me
Click here to import recipe directly into Pepperplate

NOTE:  this serves a LOT.  E's party had 32 people and we only went through 1/3 - 1/2 of the total recipe...

3 c black eyed peas

2 red peppers
2 green peppers
2 large red onions
~ 1/2 cup of cherry, grape or other small tomatoes (totally optional, mine were going to go bad if i didnt use them, so i threw them in...)

1/4 c minced garlic (i used the stuff from a jar for this particular recipe...  thats too much to mince!)
1 15-oz jar jalepenos, juice reserved and jalepenos roughly chopped

2 cans no-salt diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)

1 c cholula hot sauce (we used 1/3 chili lime and 2/3 original because its what we had...)
1 c worcestershire sauce (being a pescatarian, we used the regular kind but you can find veg worcestershire sauce if you are serving vegetarians)
2/3 c olive oil
2 tbsp dried oregano

salt & pepper to taste (start with 1 tbsp of each as mentioned below and go from there)


If using dried beans:
Soak 1 heaping cup of dried beans for about 6 -8 hours (do not oversoak!  i accidentally did and fermented my beans and had to start over...  oops.)
Place dried beans in pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.  boil for 3 - 4 minutes and then remove from heat.  Let stand in hot water for ~ 90 minutes.
Regardless of soaking method:
Once beans have been soaked, drain and cover again with fresh water.  Bring to a boil and boil ~ 15 minutes or until beans have softened, but are not mushy

If using canned beans:
Drain 2 cans of beans & set aside

After preparing beans of any kind:
Using your food processor fitted with the shredding disc, shred peppers, onions & cherry tomatoes (if using)
(yes you could do this by hand but oh my god thats a lot of chopping)
Drain excess liquid & put into a mixing bowl

Add in the garlic, the roughly chopped jalepenos (save the juice for later), the drained diced tomatoes & the chopped parsley and stir to combine.

If you still see a lot of excess liquid, drain it off again.

Add in black eyed peas & stir some more.

In a separate bowl, combine hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, olive oil, oregano & 1 tbsp each salt & pepper.  Whisk to combine fully.

Pour hot sauce mixture over the vegetable/pea mixture and stir a bit to combine.  Do not over-mix or you run the risk of smushing the black eyed peas...

refrigerate overnight and serve with sturdy tortilla chips (we used scoops and they worked well)

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