Spinach and Black-Eyed Peas – Greek-Style

Spinach black-eyed peas finished

When I was a young girl, we used to shop in a grocery store whose produce section was run by a loud and generous Greek woman named Carla. She always had a smile, story and a treat for her special customers – and with Carla, everyone was special. One day she was telling us about this dish that her family made and it sounded delicious and easy to make. There never was a recipe – just Carla’s story – but ever since then I have been making this dish – first with my mother and now on my own. If it has a name, I don’t know it, but what I do know is that it is delicious and over the years I have never tired of making it. Now Frances makes it too.

I make mine with country pork ribs because that was how Carla told me the recipe, but I think it could be equally delicious with beef short ribs. You would simply need to adjust your cooking time to be somewhat longer for the beef, which also means you would add your black-eyed peas and spinach later. Try it that way and let me know how it works out. For now, here is my version of Carla’s family recipe.

Spinach and Black-Eyed Peas with Country Ribs

Yields: 4 servings


1 large yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 – 28 ounce can or 1 large box of crushed Marzano tomatoes with their liquid

4 meaty country ribs

2 Tablespoons EVOO

2 teaspoons finely chopped or crushed garlic

1/3 cup red wine (choose anything you would enjoy also drinking that deals well with tomato)

12 ounces fresh black-eyed peas (See Note)

16 ounces of frozen chopped spinach or its equivalent fresh

Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

1 -2 bay leaves

1 Tablespoon fresh oregano or 1.5 teaspoons good quality dried Greek oregano

1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

NOTE: I have made this dish with fresh, canned and frozen black-eyed peas and it has always turned out delicious. If you use canned peas, be sure to drain and rinse the peas. I use two cans around 15 ounces each. If I can’t find frozen or fresh or canned black-eyed peas, I have also used Crowder beans. And while the dish called for spinach, I believe it would also be tasty (different) with kale or even collard greens. Don’t be afraid to try what is freshest or most easily available.


  1. Using a large, deep pan with a lid or a Dutch oven, saute the onion in the EVOO until just beginning to get translucent – about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and stirring, gently, saute this for another 3 minutes. I like to salt and pepper in layers. I don’t use any more this way, but I know that my onions are flavored and then my ribs etc.
  2. Add the ribs by pushing the onion and garlic towards the side of the pan and brown them quickly, turning once. This will only take a few minutes. You should have enough oil in the pan, but if you feel the need to add a smidgen more, that’s okay too. If your pan is hot, the ribs shouldn’t really stick. Spinach black-eyed peas stage 1
  3. Add your tomatoes, bay leaves and red wine. If you are using dried herbs, add them now. Bring to a boil, cover and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, add your beans, spinach, fresh oregano, salt and pepper and cook for 15 -20 minutes more. Yup, that’s it! And when you eat this dish, raise a glass to Carla, wherever she may be.

Eat with a lovely crusty bread (something with sesames would be great) and salad and serve the remainder of the red wine. This can be made ahead and gently reheated.

BBQ Ribs – from the Oven

BBQ RibsI have always loved a good saucy BBQ rib. In fact, in my younger days, I was known to eat an entire slab myself! Of course, that meant ignoring all of the wonderful side dishes, which I would never do now. I don’t have a grill or outdoor brick oven so I decided to look for a ribs recipe that I could make in my oven. I tried one recipe for Memphis style ribs with a dry rub and while my husband liked them, I wasn’t sold.

I like to watch the Cooking Channel and have done it ever since Frances’ husband was a little boy and we would sit together and watch. One of my biggest fans, he would always tell me: “You could do that, Mommy!” He was fortunate enough to find Frances and now he says: “You can do that, Frances!” And unlike me, Frances has been much more successful at getting Matthew to help out in the kitchen.

I’m trying a different recipe that I happened to see on the show Rev Run Sunday Suppers. This is his wife Justine’s recipe that I have tweaked. I’m serving it with corn on the cob and my Green Fatoush Salad. I learned years ago the secret to great corn on the cob from reading the late, great Craig Claiborn. You bring water to boil in a pot large enough to hold your corn. Add a good rounded teaspoon each of Kosher salt and granulated sugar. When the water has come to a boil, add your shucked corn and bring it back to a boil. As soon as it returns to the boil, cover the pot and remove it from the heat. After 5 minutes, you have perfect corn on the cob. We don’t even need butter or added salt when we eat it. Any leftovers (I always make extra) can be refrigerated and later used in salads, cut straight from the cob.

Saucy BBQ Ribs from the Oven adapted from Justine Simmons

Serves 4-5 people with sides and can be doubled. Leftovers can be reheated.



1 rack baby back ribs, cut into individual ribs (about 3.25 pounds)

2 Tablespoons seasoning salt, such as Lowry’s

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

Cracked Black Pepper to taste ( I do 25 cracks)

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon EVOO

1 red onion, cut into chunks

Hickory BBQ Sauce

1 cup of ketchup

1/4 cup of dark brown sugar

2.5 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

3/4 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke

generous 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon dried mustard

Pinch of cayenne


  1. Season the ribs with 1 Tablespoon of the seasoned salt, the garlic powder and pepper. In a pot large enough  to hold the ribs without too much crowding, add the butter, EVOO, red onion and garlic. Saute lightly until the onion just begins to soften. Place the ribs on top. Add water to cover by 2 inches and sprinkle in the remaining 1 Tablespoon of seasoned salt. Bring to a boil, cover the pot tightly, reduce the heat and cook, simmering until the ribs are tender – about 1.25 hours. Don’t be disappointed when you see the ribs after they come out of the water. They are rather unprepossessing looking at this point. Trust me – it gets much better.
  2. Meanwhile, make the BBQ sauce: Put all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Transfer the ribs to a rimmed baking pan covered with foil and coat generously with BBQ sauce. Save some of the sauce for a second coat at the end. Cover the ribs with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Take the ribs out of the oven and turn on the broiler. Brush the ribs with more BBQ sauce and broil, turning once or twice and brushing with more BBQ sauce, until crisped and well done. (I did 10 minutes a side but every oven is different.) Serve hot. The ribs can be made ahead and reheated.