Coast Cooking

Black-eyed peas are about as Southern as it gets


Special to the Sun Herald

Black-eyed peas with sausage.
Black-eyed peas with sausage.

This week, this blog is going Southern. Now, don’t roll your eyes and pout. There is nothing wrong with traditional Southern food, when prepared correctly.

I marvel at people who drool over French country cooking, and then turn their collective noses up at the food good cooks have been making in the South for generations.

Leave out the short cuts, use the best ingredients you can lay your hands on, and Southern food stands up to any cuisine, anywhere.

Here is an example: I once had a friend who made an asparagus casserole, but almost all the ingredients were from a can, including the asparagus, cream of mushroom soup and the little fried onions that went on top. I have to tell you it was delicious, but imagine what it could have been if everything was fresh and made from scratch: garden-fresh asparagus, locally made cream and crunchy homemade onions.

Here’s another example: black eyed peas. Check out this recipe and let me know how it works for you.


2 cups dried black eyed peas

4 cups homemade chicken stock

1 chopped onion

1 chopped bell pepper

As much chopped garlic as you like

1 cup chopped, locally made smoked pork sausage

Salt, freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes

Olive oil

Soak the peas overnight, drain and discard water. Sauté the sausage in a little olive oil until well browned, remove and set aside. Add the onion and bell pepper, season aggressively and sauté for 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, add the peas, stock and sausage and simmer until tender. If you want the peas a little thicker, use an immersion blended to render about 1/2 cup of peas into a paste. Season, taste and re-season as necessary.