Cookbook cover for Beans and Field Peas by Sandra Gutierrez

BEANS & FIELD PEAS: a Savor the South® cookbook

Sandra A. Gutierrez

The University of North Carolina Press
September 7, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1469623955

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SandraHeadshotSandra A. Gutierrez is the author of Latin American Street Food, The New Southern–Latino Table, and Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America. A well-known culinary instructor, she lives in Cary, North Carolina.

Robust and delicious, beans and field peas have graced the tables of southerners for generations, making daily appearances on vegetable plates, sideboards, and lunch counters throughout the region. Indeed, all over the world, people rich, poor, or in between rely on legumes, the comforting “culinary equalizer,” as Sandra A. Gutierrez succinctly puts it. Her collection of fifty-one recipes shines a fresh light on this sustaining and infinitely varied staple of ordinary life, featuring classic southern, contemporary, and international dishes. Gutierrez, who delights with culinary history, cultural nuance, and entertaining stories, observes that what has long been a way of life for so many is now trendy. As the farm-to-fork movement has taken off, food lovers are revisiting the heirloom varieties of beans and peas, which are becoming the nutrition-packed darlings of regional farmers, chefs, and home cooks. Celebrating all manner of southern beans and field peas—and explaining the difference between the two—Gutierrez showcases their goodness in dishes as simple as Red Beans and Rice, as contemporary as Mean Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayo, and as globally influenced as Butter Bean Risotto.

Speckled Butter Bean Ceviche
with Grilled Shrimp

Makes 4 servings

Nutty beans meet vibrant citrus and spicy chiles.  Then they’re topped with sweet, plump shrimp, yielding a salad that features the colors of autumn. Speckled butter beans are among the most beautiful members of the lima bean family (Phaseolus lunatus). When dried, they are a purplish-brown color, mottled with pinkish spots. When cooked, they produce a dark pot likker, and although they lose their speckled appearance, they retain their beautiful color. It’s not as crazy to call this salad a ceviche as you may first think. The beans are cured in the same citrus and chile dressing used in traditional Peruvian ceviches, and in Latin America this qualifies as one. Ají amarillo peppers are found pickled, in jars or cans, in most Latin American stores. If you can’t find them, use fresh jalapeños instead. Shrimp are measured by how many are in one pound and the ideal shrimp for this recipe are large and plump. Not all shrimp turn pink when cooked (it depends on the variety); make sure you cook them well but take them off the grill when they begin to curl (a sign of doneness). For a vegetarian option, simply omit the shrimp.

For the ceviche

  • ½ pound speckled butter beans, cooked, drained, and chilled
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup chopped Vidalia onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
  • 3 ají amarillo peppers, peeled, seeded, deveined, and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

For the shrimp

  • 24 shrimp (16-21 count)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large metal or bamboo skewers

To make the ceviche, in a medium bowl, combine the beans, lemon juice, onion, cilantro, ajíes, salt, and pepper; mix well and chill for at least 2 hours (up to overnight), stirring occasionally.

To prepare the shrimp, peel and devein them, leaving the tails intact. Place 6 shrimp on each skewer. In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper; sprinkle the mixture over the shrimp, making sure to coat them well.

Heat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan until very hot. Grill the shrimp for 3 minutes on the first side or until they’ve turned opaque; turn and grill for 3–4 more minutes or until cooked through. Transfer the bean ceviche to a large platter and top with the shrimp skewers.

Butter Bean, Corn, and Tomato Salad

Makes 4-6 servings

Most southern salads are simple to make, and this one showcases the flavors of summer. It offers a perfect trifecta of flavors (sweet, nutty, and slightly acidic), colors (red, yellow, and green), and textures (creamy, crunchy, and soft). Every time I make it, I wonder how such an easy recipe can yield such a delicious dish. Try it, and you’ll see what I mean. If you let this salad rest for an hour or so before serving, the tomatoes will release their juices and add to the flavor of the dressing. Use fresh corn, scraped directly from the cobs, and fresh beans, if you can.

  • 2 cups butter beans (about ½ pound)
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 2 cups seeded, chopped plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup corn or vegetable oil

Place the beans in a pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, skimming off the foam that rises to the top; cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 35–40 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, fill a bowl with iced water. When the beans have finished cooking, drain and immerse them in the ice bath until cool. Drain the peas and transfer them to a large bowl; add the corn and tomatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the oil and pour the dressing over the salad; stir until combined.

These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

From BEANS & FIELD PEAS: a Savor the South® cookbook by Sandra A. Gutierrez.  Copyright © 2015 by Sandra A. Gutierrez.  Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.

Contact: Gina Mahalek