Garlicky Black-Pepper Shrimp and Black-Eyed Peas

Garlicky Black-Pepper Shrimp and Black-Eyed Peas

Three o’ Clock. That’s when my daily dilemma begins with a single question: What’s For Dinner?

What’s for Dinner? generates a range of emotions for me: Curiosity. Dread. Boredom. Frustration. What’s for dinner is quickly followed by random thoughts like: What am I in the mood for? Does it have to be quick? Does it have to be cheap? Is it healthy? (This is usually only an issue in January. By February I’m over it.)

I noodle about whether there is something new worth trying. A really important consideration is always whether or not the kids will eat it (This last consideration carries the most weight because it can determine if the rest of the evening will be a picture of familial bliss or a madcap race to get the kids to finish their homework and get showered while the last holdout sits at the dinner table in protest of that nasty green stuff on his/her plate. I’m the foodie, not my kids.)

The fact that I work for a grocery store is helpful in that I don’t have to do a lot of planning. I know I can always run downstairs and pick up whatever sounds good for that night. It can be a problem because I know I could make anything, so narrowing it down on a daily basis can be tough.

I am a self-proclaimed recipe junkie. I love the magazines. I love the blogs. I love my cookbooks. I love reading about new ways to use ingredients. That being said, from time to time, I get in a rut and need inspiration. I figure I am not alone.

A few years back, we started a program called What’s for Dinner Wednesday? to present interesting recipes and new products to our customers. Now, with the launch of this website, we’re bringing it back as a way to recommend some really good meals, to get your input and to get your gears turning. Each Wednesday we’ll post a new recipe, and we welcome your thoughts, recommendations and suggestions as well as any personal favorites you would like to share. We look forward to hearing from you.

This first recipe is from one of the last issues of Gourmet Magazine, in March 2009 and it is one of my favorites. By the time April rolls around, I’m pretty sick of roasts and winter veggies. Garlicky Black-Pepper Shrimp and Black-Eyed Peas caught my attention because it was a welcome relief from what I had been cooking all winter. It’s also really good, it’s got bacon in it, and most important, the kids will eat it. I serve it with steamed white rice but this low-country style meal would also go well with grits. 

Garlicky Black-Pepper Shrimp and Black-Eyed Peas Recipe
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
Serves 6


For Black-Eyed Peas:
4 bacon slices
4 scallions, chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
2 (15-oz) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

For Shrimp:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine


Make the Black-Eyed Peas:
Heat the bacon in a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium heat until browned but not crisp. Transfer bacon to a plate, then cut into small pieces.

Return the skillet to medium heat, and cook the scallions, carrot, celery, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, red-pepper flakes, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in the leftover fat from making the bacon. Stir occasionally, until vegetables are pale golden, or for about 10 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas and broth and simmer 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Make the Shrimp:
Heat the olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Season the shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated black pepper. Cook the shrimp with the garlic, stirring occasionally, until just opaque (shrimp will not be fully cooked), about 3 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil, then briskly simmer 2 minutes. Add bacon and black-eyed-pea mixture and simmer until just heated through (mixture will be juicy). Discard bay leaves.

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