Coast Cooking

These ain’t your mama’s black eyed peas

Black eyed peas, how Southern, and boring can you get?

Hold that thought.

When I was a kid I might have agreed with you, but that was when black eyed peas were prepared pretty much alone. The pea, a subspecies of the cowpea, was cooked in a little water, salt and pepper and most of the time overcooked to boot. At best a piece of salt pork was added.

What you put into a recipe determines what you get out of it. Therefore, it is best to add fresh ingredients and a little time and love as well.

As a shortcut, canned peas and beans are pretty good if you wash the goop off of them, but fresh or dried legumes are always better. If you use dried beans or peas, soak them in plain water overnight, or you can use a pressure cooker, but that is another story.

Try this recipe and let me know what you think.

2 cups fresh black eyed peas

1 cup chopped ham or pork sausage

1 chopped red onion

1 chopped bell pepper

3-4 cloves of diced garlic

2-3 cups chicken stock

Olive oil

Red pepper flakes

Locally made crusty bread

Sauté the ham or sausage in a little oil until browned, remove and set aside. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan, season with red pepper flakes and sauté for 5-6 minutes, add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add the ham/sausage back to the pan, add two cups of stock and simmer for 10 minutes or so, add the peas and simmer until tender. Add more stock as required. Remember to taste and re-season as needed. Toast the bread, top with the cooked peas, drizzle a little more olive oil on top and serve at once.