New Year's Recipe: Black-Eyed Peas

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by Frank Davis

wwltv.com

Posted on December 28, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 22 at 7:01 PM

This classic New Year’s “pot of beans” is actually a “bowl of beans” and has become one of the Crescent City’s favorite New Year’s offerings.  The peas in this recipe do not come out creamy (like they do when you plan to serve them over rice)!  Instead they become succulently tender while still maintaining their “whole pea” integrity.  Plan to dish up a side bowl of these to go with your pork roast and cabbage.

And this recipe tells you exactly how to get the pot you make as creamy as they can be!  Oh—you might want to cook extra: just like every other kind of bean we cook, blackeyes are twice as good the next day!

2 pounds fresh black-eye peas
3 cups water and chicken stock mix
12 cups smoked ham, diced
1 whole small smoked ham hock
1 cup finely diced yellow onions
1/2 cup finely diced celery
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/ 2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried sweet basil leaves
2 whole bay leaves
3 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 teaspoon Frank Davis Vegetable Seasoning
Salt and black pepper to taste, if needed

First, rinse the peas well under cold running water and set them aside momentarily to drain.

Next, take a 4-quart, heavy, non-stick, aluminum Dutch oven (one that has a tight-fitting lid) and bring the water and stock to a rapid boil.  Then drop into the water the ham hock and the diced smoke ham. 

Now heat the stock to a slow boil and cook the meats for 15-20 minutes (covered) until the stock becomes richly flavored.  Then add and stir in the onions, celery, garlic, thyme, sweet basil, and bay leaves, cover the pot again and, over medium-low heat, continue to cook until the vegetables soften (which should take about 15 minutes more).

At his 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 slow simmer, cover the pot, and cook them until tender and full flavored (this should take another 20-30 minutes or so on a very low fire).  Oh—be sure to stir the pot occasionally to keep the peas from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

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 broth, the ham, and the bacon drippings, so you may not need to add much more if any.

Then, when your pork roast and the cabbage casserole are ready, serve the peas as a complementary vegetable side-dish directly from the pot, piping hot, accompanied by a big wedge of richly-buttered Southern black skillet corn bread

There couldn’t be a more “Naturally N'Awlins” way to start a brand new year!

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CHEF’S NOTES:

1—If after the peas “rest” 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 just a skosh, 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-eye peas.  In fact, if you soak them overnight or cook them too harshly, they will practically disintegrate before they finish cooking.

3—Fresh black eye peas are usually found this time of year in or near the produce department in most supermarkets.  They come packaged in either a plastic bag or a plastic cup container.
 

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