Black-eyed Pea Cakes with Lime Cumin Yogurt

As you might imagine I have some black-eyed peas left over from my New Year’s Day dinner and I’m desperate for something new to do with them.  I’ve read a few recipes for black-eyed pea cakes, but nothing that sounded like it was much more than just the same peas I had for dinner, just mashed up.  Then I saw one on epicurious.com that calls for lime juice and hot pepper sauce and is served with jalapeno sour cream.  Now we’re talking.  Sadly it turns out that recipe was really for black-eyed pea pancakes and I just couldn’t go there.  I’m sure it’s fine, but I’m not looking to add a lot of bread to my diet right now.  And honestly, I can’t quite separate the idea of pancakes from the idea of maple syrup.  You can see how that might be a problem with black-eyed peas.

So, I decided to use that recipe as my inspiration and kind of wing it from there.  I’ve made crab cakes a dozen times so I get the process.  Take your main ingredient and put it in a bowl with enough stuff to hold it together.  Seems simple enough.  With pea or bean cakes the process also includes mashing half the peas to help with the binding.  One piece of advice – if you’re working with leftovers heat the peas before you start the mashing.  It’s a LOT easier that way.  Just about 30 seconds in the microwave will do it.  I found that the back of a spoon works better than about anything else for mashing the peas smooth.  Another key to making something into cakes or patties is to chill it before you try to form it.  An hour or so in the fridge gives the spices a little time to blend and it makes the mixture much easier to handle.  If it fits better into your schedule make up the mixture the night before.  In fact that might be better.

This stuff is not easy to work with.  Even after it chills it’s pretty loose.  And it looks disgusting, as you can see.  More breadcrumbs in the mix might have helped.  The best advice I can offer is to make your patties small and handle them carefully.  There’s no way these would have survived a traditional 3 step dredge (flour, egg, breadcrumbs), but it’s rare that I do that anyway.  I coated these in panko and let it go at that.  If you’re making a lot of these make them in batches so you can keep part of the mix in the fridge while you work with the other.  Use a spatula to put them in the pan.  Preferably a metal spatula because they’re much thinner than their plastic counterparts.

Here’s what I did.  I heated a medium cast iron skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil until the oil started to shimmer.  Then I slid four patties into the pan.  I cooked them 4 minutes on each side and then put them in a warming oven.  I wiped out the pan and repeated the process for the remaining three patties.  They all had a good crust on the outside, but they were a little mushy on the inside.  Here’s my advice.  Use the skillet to get a good crust on all of the patties and then bake them an additional 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Maybe that will take care of the mushiness.

In terms of flavor these are pretty good.  My black-eyed peas had some minced ham hock in them already and I added some of the leftover peppers and onions from yesterday’s sausage.  Then I threw in some sauteed garlic and jalapeno along with a little cumin and chili powder and a squeeze of lime juice.  That gives them earthy, salty, sweet, hot and bright flavors all together.  But the real gem here is the yogurt sauce.  Just some cumin, salt and lime juice added to plain greek yogurt.  It adds exactly the right tangy touch.  Add some chopped fresh cilantro if you have it.

Overall I’d say these are better than just edible and just shy of being good.  A perfectly acceptable way to repurpose black-eyed peas.  Of course soup is a good way to manage those too. And a lot less trouble.  Still, I’m inspired to make a bean cake that isn’t overly bready and still doesn’t turn out mushy.  Inspiration is good.  I’ll keep you posted!

Good? Almost.
Easy? Not so much.
Good for company? I don’t think so.
Special shopping? Nope. We’re re-purposing leftovers here.

Black-eyed Pea Cakes with Lime Cumin Yogurt

Ingredients

2 C cooked black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed if you’re using canned)
1/2 C sauteed pepper, onion, garlic and jalapeno
1 egg, beaten
1/3 C breadcrumbs
1 squeeze of lime juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
Panko for coating
2 T olive oil, divided

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Chill at least 1 hour and up to overnight. Carefully form the mixture into small patties. Pour panko in a small shallow dish. Dredge patties on both sides in panko crumbs.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy skillet until the oil begins to shimmer. Add about half of the patties. Don’t over fill the pan. Cook 4-5 minutes and turn each patty carefully. Cook another 4-5 minutes. Keep warm and repeat with remaining tablespoon of oil for the rest of the patties.

Lime Cumin Yogurt

Ingredients

6-8 oz plain greek yogurt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp lime juice
dash of salt

Directions

Mix all ingredients. Chill. Serve a dollop on each black-eyed pea cake.

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