The historic Low Country dish is rice topped with red-pea gravy. It is traditionally made with heirloom Carolina gold rice, a precursor to long-grain rice.
Ingredients6 cups Sea Island pea puree 4 to 6 servings Carolina Gold rice cakes 4 to 6 cups cooked beet greens Assorted Southern-style pickles Carolina Gold rice cakes 1/2 pound Carolina gold rice* 2 cups cold water 1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper 1 bay leaf 2 tablespoons minced green onion 2 ounces mirliton chow-chow, drained and chopped finely 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chervil 1 teaspoon fresh picked thyme leaves Vegetable oil, olive oil or butter for sauteing Sea Island pea puree 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 8 ounces shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped 1/2 ounce fresh garlic, peeled and mashed 1 cup dried Sea Island red peas About 4 cups mushroom stock, plus more if needed 2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper 3 bay leaves Beet greens 1 small onion, sliced thinly 2 cloves garlic, mashed 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms, preferably shiitakes, chanterelles or royal trumpets Vegetable oil, olive oil or butter for sauteing Greens from two bunches beets, washed, large ribs removed 1 cup cold water 4 tablespoons distilled white vinegar 1 teaspoon salt or to taste 1 teaspoon chili flakes 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce (optional)
- Heat pea puree. Meanwhile, saute rice cakes and cook greens. Ladle puree into plates or shallow bowls and top with rice cakes and beet greens. Garnish with an assortment of pickles.
- In a one-quart nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine rice, water, salt, red pepper and bay leaf and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer. The rice will cook in 15 to 20 minutes if it’s new crop, a bit longer if it’s dried.
- Once cooked, remove from the heat and let stand, covered, an additional 30 minutes before turning out into a shallow pan to cool. Discard the bay leaf. Once the rice is cool enough to handle, place in a sturdy bowl and add the green onion, chow-chow, chervil, and thyme. Using either your bare hands or a stiff wooden spoon, pound and knead the rice until it’s very sticky and holds firmly when pressed into cakes. This will take some elbow grease and about 5 minutes. Alternatively, place in your mixer with the paddle attachment and blend on medium speed until the mixture forms a coarse ball.
- Shape rice into cakes, 2 to 4 ounces each, depending on your taste. They can now be individually wrapped and refrigerated until needed.
- Before serving, saute over medium heat in a small amount of vegetable oil or butter. When browned on both sides and steaming hot throughout, serve at once. 4 to 6 servings.
* Note: This recipe will not work with just any rice. Arborio or glutinous rice can be substituted, but the flavor will not be as good as with Carolina gold.
Sea Island pea puree
- In a 2-quart nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil until just smoking. Add the shallots and garlic and saute, stirring often, for several minutes, until the shallots just start to caramelize. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and simmer, uncovered, until peas are thoroughly cooked and falling apart. Remove the bay leaves.
- Puree in the blender in batches until smooth and creamy. Add more stock if a thinner consistency is desired. The texture should be like a thick bisque. Alternatively, you can serve the peas whole. Reheat to a boil, stirring often, before serving.
- In a 4-quart saucepan, over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in the oil. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until the mushrooms are soft. Add the remaining ingredients and cover.
- Allow the greens to steam until thoroughly wilted. Remove the lid and stir, turning the greens over, while boiling to reduce the liquid until it has a nice intense flavor. Correct seasoning (most will prefer another 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt) and serve at once.