Black-eyed peas are a widely popular food staple across countries. When combined with any of various side dishes (including breads and greens), they make an excellent and appetizing meal.
When you crave a protein-rich and palatable meal, black-eyed peas might just be the ideal food staple to bring alive such a delectable meal.
Whether the goal is to have a feast on New Year’s Eve or simply prepare some delicious dinner for the family, black-eyed peas can be the ideal choice of food.
However, I don’t have personal opinions or tastes, but here’s the most recent recipe for the traditional Southern-style Black Eyed Peas:
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
- 6 cups water
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 smoked ham hocks or a smoked turkey leg
- 4 cups chicken broth
- Soak black-eyed peas overnight in water.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, add 2 tbsp of oil, bay leaves, onion and garlic, cook for 3 to 4 minutes until softened.
- Drain soaking water and rinse.
- Add soaked and rinsed black-eyed peas to the pot with 6 cups of water along with smoked ham hocks or turkey leg.
- Add smoked paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low.
- Add chicken broth and cover with the lid partially.
- Simmer for 60-90 minutes until the peas are tender and the liquid is thick and creamy.
- Discard bay leaves and remove the ham hocks or turkey leg. Shred the meat off the bones and add back to the pot.
- Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Serve hot with cooked rice.
What Are the Ingredients Recommended in This Recipe?
While black-eyed peas represent the principal ingredient, the other ingredients can vary slightly, depending on how you wish to flavor the (black-eyed pea) dish or what you want it to look like.
Since the taste of your black-eyed pea dish is more heavily dependent on the mix of ingredients rather than the choice of black-eyed peas, you can pick any of the varieties of black-eyed peas out there for the dish. Some of the common varieties are heirloom black-eyed peas and the pale-colored California Blackeye.
The other ingredients in this recipe are as follows:
Chicken broth –Inasmuch as water is the basic liquid for cooking (boiling), water is expectedly needed in cooking your black-eyed peas. But for better-flavored black-eyed peas, it would be great that you replace water with a tasty broth such as chicken broth. Beef broth can be a good substitute for chicken broth, though chicken broth is our best recommended (cooking) liquid in this recipe
Garlic –Garlic combines with onion to generously boost the aromatic base of the dish
Olive oil –This might not be necessary especially if you think the grease from the sausage and the bacon would suffice
Sausage –While this adds an extra bite of delicacy to the black-eyed pea dish, some of the recommended sausages are andouille and kielbasa
Bacon –Almost any kind of bacon would go well with this dish, but we recommend you pick the bacon that feels very easy to cut. You’ll have to cut the bacon into small portions
To keep the ingredients in the right proportion, below is what we recommend for 1 pound of black-eyed peas:
- Minced smoked sausage –three ounces
- Black pepper –half a teaspoon
- Olive oil –one teaspoon
- Chicken broth (water, or beef broth as substitute) –five cups of chicken broth, or beef broth or water, as the case may be
- Tomato paste –one tablespoon
- Bay leaves –two
- Scallions – ¼ cups, well-diced
- Minced garlic –four cloves of it
- Minced onion –one onion, about medium-sized, is enough
- Parsley – ¼ cup of well-diced parsley
- Salt –one tablespoon
- Thick bacon –eight ounces, well-diced
Steps for Making This Black-eyed Pea Dish
- Get a container sizeable enough to contain the black-eyed peas. Pour cold water into the container and add the peas to this container. Make sure the water is enough to rise above the peas. This is in order to adequately soak the peas before cooking. You can leave them to soak overnight in the container
- To begin the cooking process, scoop the (olive) oil into a deep-bottomed cooking pot and place over medium heat
- Pour the diced sausage and bacon into the heating oil. Let them heat for about 7 minutes so that they turn a bit brown
- Add the diced garlic and onion. When they cook for 4 minutes or thereabouts, the onion and garlic become soft
- After that, drain the (soaked) black-eyed peas and pour them in the pot. Ensure you add the bay leaves, black pepper and the salt along with the peas
- Now, add the chicken broth (or beef broth) and allow the contents to cook (boil) together
- Cover the pot so that the contents can quickly boil. You may as well reduce the heat for the black-eyed peas to simmer
- After cooking for one hour or thereabouts, you may check to see if the peas are tender
- If the black-eyed peas are becoming tender already, grab a cup and scoop out about half a cup. Set down a bowl to scoop the (half a cup) black-eyed peas into. Batter the peas in the bowl to form a (pea) paste. Pour the paste into the pot
- To enhance the texture of the chicken broth with which you’re cooking these black-eyed peas, you can add the tomato paste at this point
- Allow the mixture (black-eyed peas, broth and the other items in the pot) to continue cooking –over medium heat –till the liquid (broth, tomato paste, etc.) curdles
- Now you can remove the bay leaves and replace with the recommended proportion of scallions and parsley
- Let the newly added ingredients (parsley and scallions) cook well with the rest of the pot’s contents over medium-high heat
- After a little while, the black-eyed pea dish should be ready for serving
Thinking of what to have as a side dish for black-eyed peas?
Well, your freshly served black-eyed peas can be eaten with corn bread (and even other bread varieties), white rice, or probably some of your favorite veggies.
Storing Leftover Black-eyed Peas
Your leftover (cooked) black-eyed peas can be stored in a fridge or freezer. When you hope to store the leftover for only a couple of days, you can leave it in the fridge. Cooked black-eyed peas stored in the fridge can last therein for four days or thereabouts.
But if you wish to really prolong the storage time, endeavor to keep the leftover (cooked) peas in a well-sealed container and place in a freezer. This freezing option can help store the black-eyed peas for about 4 months.
Reheating Your Cooked Black-eyed Peas
You can use a saucepan, skillet, etc. in reheating black-eyed peas. While reheating, keep the heat low or medium-low and add a little more chicken broth, beef broth or simply water (as the case may be).
A Few More Things to Note
- If you want to substantially spice up the black-eyed peas, you’ll likely have to tweak the earlier-recommended list of ingredients. In that case, you should incorporate a composite seasoning made of cayenne, chili powder, red pepper flakes and smoked paprika. Some people like their black-eyed peas very hot and spicy. If you’re one of such people, you may be tempted to add the listed spices
- You can opt for the vegetarian-styled black-eyed peas by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth. You’ll also have to replace the meaty options –precisely bacon and sausage –in our recipe with ideal veggies such as celery, carrots, etc.
- For a variation that packs adequate herbal flavor, you can pick a number of dried herbs from your pantry and add to the mix of ingredients. Some of the herbs you’ll find handy are thyme, rosemary and oregano
- Lastly, soaking black-eyed peas before the cooking process isn’t primarily necessary. But if you’re really bent on enjoying less cooking time, you may deem it necessary to soak the black-eyed peas before cooking
The recipe you’ve read so far is really a detailed guide on what you need to make flavorful black-eyed peas for whatever occasion that warrants this dish. If you aren’t completely satisfied with the basic mix of ingredients we recommended, ensure you read the additional notes we provided on how you may probably customize the ingredient mix to your taste. These additional notes are termed “A Few More Things to Note”.