1 pound dried black eye peas
4-6 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound sauteed bacon, diced
1 cup diced yellow onions
1/2 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1 tablespoon dried sweet basil
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons bacon drippings
2 teaspoons Frank Davis Vegetable Seasoning
Sea salt and coarse-ground black pepper to taste, if needed
First, rinse the peas well under cold running water in a colander and set them aside momentarily to drain.
Next, take a 5-quart heavy aluminum Dutch oven (one that has a tight-fitting lid) and bring the chicken stock to a rapid boil. Then drop into the stock the chopped bacon.
Now bring the stock to a slow boil.
Then add and stir in the onions, celery, garlic, thyme, sweet basil, and bay leaves, cover the pot tightly, and over medium-low heat continue to cook until the vegetables soften, which should take about 15 minutes.
At this point, drop in the black eye peas and the bacon drippings and stir the pot well, making sure the mixture is uniformly blended.
Then bring the peas to a boil, but immediately reduce them to a simmer, cover the pot once again, and cook the peas until they become tender and full flavored (this should take about an hour or so on a very low fire).
Oh be sure to stir the pot occasionally to keep the peas from sticking to the bottom.
Finally, just before you're ready to eat, sprinkle in the vegetable seasoning and the salt and pepper and season the peas to taste.
Remember you already have salt in the chicken stock, the minced bacon, and the bacon drippings, so you may not need to add much more if any.
Then, when your pork loin and your cabbage casserole are ready, serve the peas directly from the pot, piping hot, over a short pile of steamed rice and accompanied by a hearty chunk of hot buttered corn bread.
There couldn't be a more 'Naturally N'Awlins' way to start a brand new year!
1 If after the peas 'set' for a while, they may need additional liquid.
This may be especially true if you cook them one day and serve them the next.
If this happens and you need to thin them out slightly, simply add a little more chicken stock and stir it in as you reheat.
2 Because they have tender hulls, it is not necessary to soak black-eyed peas. In fact, if you soak them overnight or cook them too harshly, they will practically disintegrate before they finish cooking.