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By the Book: Melissa d’Arabian’s Kielbasa and Black-Eyed Peas

September 25th 01:09pm, 2012

In her debut cookbook, Ten Dollar Dinners, Melissa d’Arabian claims to have created 140 nutritious recipes that cost only $10 to make, taste delicious and feed a family of four. I was intrigued by (and a bit skeptical of) her assertions, and her recipe for a dolled up version of franks and beans sounded cute (and the weather finally cooled off), so I figured now was the time to investigate what sounded too good to be true.

My grocery store was out of kielbasa. Without it, my ingredient list still ran a bit over $10, but I also had to buy a full bottle of vinegar, which wouldn’t usually be the case. After hitting up The Farmers’ Larder for kielbasa at the Tower Grove Farmers Market, my ingredient list was complete. My total bill (minus extra costs for the vinegar) for the meal was about $20 (killer kielbasa included). Not bad, but not $10.



As far as time, I made the mistake of buying dried black-eyed peas instead of canned or frozen, as d’Arabian recommended. So for me, the 15 minutes of prep time along with the 25 minutes of cooking time didn’t quite happen. I do prefer using dried beans, though, so if that’s your case, just build in some time (like an episode of 30 Rock) and then start the rest of the meal. 



The dish turned out delicious, and the promise to feed four was actually true. So often it seems that recipes that claim to make “four servings” are counting on at least two of the people to be children who push their dollops of food around their plates. But this time, my husband and I were able to gorge ourselves and still have enough leftovers to serve another two adults (if we wanted to share).




Kielbasa and Black-Eyed Peas
Make approximately 4 servings

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
½ lb. kielbasa, cut into ¼-inch thick pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ tsp. dried thyme plus a squeeze of lemon juice
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. (packed) light brown sugar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 dried bay leaf
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (about 1½ 15.5-ounce cans)
1½ cups fresh or frozen chopped spinach (optional)
Corn bread or steamed white rice, for serving
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)*

• Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
• Add the onion, salt and pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Mix in the tomato paste, cooking until it starts browning on the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
• Pour in 1 cup of water and the vinegar, stirring them into the onion, then add the sugar, mustard, bay leaf and black-eyed peas. Return the kielbasa to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the sauce is rich-colored and slightly thick, about 10 minutes.
• Stir in the spinach (if using), until wilted. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Serve in big bowls with corn bread or over rice, with hot sauce on the side (if using).

* I used Sriracha.

Reprinted from Ten Dollars Dinner by Melissa d’Arabian. Copyright (c) 2012. Photos copyright. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.

What is your favorite, inexpensive cold weather stew to make? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Ten Dollar Dinners by Melissa d’Arabian. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Falishia, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of Martha’s American Food. Falishia, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

By Julie Cohen

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5 Responses to “By the Book: Melissa d’Arabian’s Kielbasa and Black-Eyed Peas”

  1. Karin Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    That looks terrific. I usually shy away from cookbooks with titles like that. Most usually call for cans of this or that, usually cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup, which is just a cheat way around using real food. If the rest of the book is anything like this recipe, I may have to start looking more closely at some of the books I would have passed on in the past.

    Also…Farmers’ Larder rocks the piggies!

  2. Elisa Tomich Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Turkish lentil and spinach stew is my absolute favorite when the weather turns cool.

  3. Lisa Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Chili. It is so versatile that it can be adapted to any budget.

  4. B.J. Says:
    September 27th, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Next time try shopping at Aldi’s or Save a Lot, you could easily get the items (including sausage) for $10.00.

  5. Kiley Says:
    September 28th, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    We love chipotle chili, especially served over baked sweet potatoes.

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