Red Red (Vegan Bean Stew) | Paired with McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Zinfandel
Zoe Adjonyoh is a chef, writer, entrepreneur and founder of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen. Zoe has been pioneering modern West African food in the forms of supper clubs (London, Berlin, New York, Accra, Wales, Russia), her own restaurant in Brixton, pop-ups, street food and events since 2010. In 2017 she released her debut cookbook - Zoe's Ghana Kitchen, which has now be republished and released nationwide in the US, October 19th, 2021.
Zoe’s mission as always been to bring the great flavours of West Africa to a wider audience and this has been acknowledged through great positive press and publicity for our food and concept, being named as one of “London’s hottest chefs” by Time Out and being named one of ‘The 44 Best Female Chefs’ by Hachette Cuisine France. She was honored at the James Beard Foundation In New York and given the Iconoclast Award in 2018 and in February 2019, she was invited to speak at TEDXOxford about Food: Its Importance to Cultural Stepping Stones of Understanding and Exchange.
Paired with McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Zinfandel
Red Red, so good they named it twice. This dish is so called, I’m told, because it’s coloured red twice – once from the earthy nutty deep red of the palm oil and a second time from the bright tart tomatoes. Some say it’s named Red Red because the accompanying plantain is fried in Palm oil and that’s where the second ‘Red’ comes from.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I converted her entire catering operation into an online spice store selling house spice blends, salt mixes and single origin ingredients from small independent organic farms in West Africa and a community kitchen to feed those most impacted by the pandemic (including the NHS staff) in her East London community of Hackney - serving 500 meals per week out of her home. In April 2020, I launched Black Book Global, a representation agency and platform for POC in the food industry and released her new podcast ‘Cooking Up Consciousness’. Most recently, I joined the board at ‘The New American Table’ and ‘Gods Love We Deliver’ and is now the Director of Women’s Programs at the James Beard Foundation in New York City.
From Chin Chin to Puff Puff and here in Red Red there’s a lot of duplication in the titles of dishes in Ghanaian cooking, we with love lyrical language in Ghana and this pairing will keep you singing for more. This stew of black-eyed beans (cowpeas) cooked in a gently spiced tomato sauce is a great vegan dish eaten all day long in Ghana – an alternative to baked beans for breakfast or lunch or dinner. This is ALL DAY FOOD, for everyone; it’s very affordable and easily accessible. Don’t get it twisted however, it may be on the economical side to make, yet that should not distract from the glorious depth and complexity of flavour this simple dish creates and like the paired Zinfadel contains subtle cherry or red plum fruitiness with smoky depth from the palm oil and the exotic peppery spice notes throughout from the carefully layered levels of sweet and hot heat. The richness does not overwhelm the wine but complements it beautifully. It makes a magical combination. Usually eaten with Simple Fried Plantain, this is tasty, nourishing comfort food that’s super-easy to make.
Black-eyed peas are native to West Africa, where they have been popular since the Middle Ages. The U.S. Library of Congress states that they were cultivated since prehistoric times in China and India, and were "(b)rought to the West Indies from West Africa by slaves, by earliest records in 1674."
According to soul food scholar Adrian Miller, European slavers fed their enslaved people black-eyed peas during the Middle Passage, the infamous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, and in the Americas, planters originally fed them to the livestock and then fed them to the enslaved, too. Among "well-to-do whites," says Miller, they were considered a "poor person's food," but African Americans continued to enjoy the beans, making them into a "soul food staple."
Today, in the American South, black-eyed peas are a key ingredient the staple dish Hoppin' John (aka Carolina peas and rice), and eating them on New Year’s Day — a tradition that actually originated with Western Europeans — paired with greens (such as collards) is considered good luck: The peas symbolize coins and the greens symbolize paper money. I wonder how many people know the journey from Red Red to Hoppin’ Johns? It’s something to talk about over a nice glass of this...
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