Coast Cooking

Peas and beans are on my cool weather food list

Black-eyed peas with chow chow or tomato chutney.
Black-eyed peas with chow chow or tomato chutney. Special to the Sun Herald

I am blogging this week about the foods I love to eat when the weather turns cool.

Wishful thinking, huh?

The signs are unmistakably there. The birds are starting to gather in flocks, and we have had the occasional hint of a north wind.

One of my favorite cooler weather foods is almost any pea or bean that has long been simmered in a ham stock.

Field peas, lima beans, black-eyed peas, crowder peas, red beans or even great northern beanas make the grade.

Add a little tomato chutney (some call it chow-chow) and a skillet full of homemade cornbread and you are good to go.

The trick to making good peas and beans is in the stock. In a large stock pot add a few roughly chopped onions (no need to remove the skins), carrots, jalapeño peppers, green bell peppers and a good pinch of red pepper flakes.

Fill with water and start to simmer. Chop up a cup or two of ham and sauté until it is well-browned and add to the pot and simmer for an hour. Add the peas or beans and cook until tender.

You, my friend, are home free.