Well, I've been doing this for a few months now & I've figured out my favourite part of preparing all these recipes, aside from sampling the end results, of course. It's just before I start to cook - you know the stage when all the ingredients are gathered together and the next hour or so is going to be a novel experience - optimism reigns. I suppose that's why I always include a photo like the one below - onion, olive oil, garlic, carrot, celery, tomatoes, pork sausage, black-eyed peas, salt and pepper. Most of the time everything has worked out fine.
BTW, the onion, carrots & garlic are from my summer vegetable garden. I have onions, carrots, potatoes and cabbages in a cold storage room in my basement, along with my hanging garlic. The potatoes & garlic should last until next summer. The carrots are stored in sand & will likely last most of the winter. I'll run out of the onions & cabbage by Christmas
With several of these recipes there have been one or two ingredients that have presented a bit of a challenge, due in no small part to my location - things like pancetta, fresh mackerel, cranberry beans, veal shank are not on the shelves at my local supermarket in my small town in Eastern Ontario. At first glance, this recipe did not present any similar issues. Black-eyed peas? I picked some up at the Bulk Barn in Kanata on one of my bi-weekly trips into Ottawa. BUT, Marcella's directions for the sausages are at the same time descriptive and mysterious. The descriptive phrases include "mild" and "no herbs or strong spices". Mysterious? Are the sausages supposed to be large, small, bangers, Italian? Nary a clue. After reading ingredients on more sausages than I care to remember - and I can assure you that most sausages have a LOT of ingredients, unfortunately, I suppose - I settled on the ones in the photo - about 7" in length with a long list of very bland ingredients.
Preparation was pretty simple - another one-pot recipe - and took over two hours. First the onions, garlic & veggies are lightly cooked, then the sausages are added for about 15 minutes, followed by the tomatoes and finally by the soaked black-eyed peas. Everything is covered with water & simmered for about an hour and a half. Final result below.
This recipe & it's simplicity of ingredients remind me of one of our family favourites - baked beans with steamed brown bread. The peculiarities of this recipe originated with my wife's grandmother and go back about 100 years, originating in New Brunswick. It was a Saturday staple in my wife's family when she was growing up and started the night before when the beans were left to soak overnight. The dish is cooked in the oven a bean pot.
What I liked about this recipe:
Everything. This has been one of my favourite dishes that I have prepared for this project. An excellent, economical and simple family meal when the weather is a bit unpleasant outside - and we have plenty of those days here in Canada. We even have a name for them - winter.
What I didn't like about this recipe:
No problems for me. I might experiment with different sausages from time to time, but the ones I used were fine.
Would I make it again?
Of course. Actually, I already have.