Saturday, September 20, 2014

Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas


I try to make a plate of Southern food once every few months in order to satisfy my craving for my adopted homeland. While I ALWAYS make some collard greens, the other elements of the plate can vary by what mood I'm in or what I have on hand.

I usually like to have a starch and black-eyed peas are a great side. Smokey and almost meaty, they are a great tie in to a smoky plate of pulled pork or barbecue chicken.

Most of my Southern style recipes have been borrowed from deepsouthdish.com. It's a great site filled with info and outstanding recipes. Sometimes I just browse and salivate.

Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas
(from here)

For the Ham Stock:
2 smoked ham hocks
Water to cover plus an inch
1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, smashed

For the Peas:
1/4 pound of bacon, chopped
1 cup of chopped onion
1/2 of a medium green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup of chopped celery
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 quart of Ham Stock (ingredients above)
8 oz of dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through
1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed and chopped
Couple pinches of kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning
2 bay leaves

==

I do this recipe in parts. You can just basically toss everything into the pot at one time but I like to use the "ham hock stock" for other things, namely collard greens.

(This part is identical to my collard greens recipe)

For this particular application, I'm making the stock separate from the greens then combining them at the end.

So, for the stock, get your ham hocks into a pot. Frozen is fine. I used a pressure cooker. Please, ask for a pressure cooker for your next birthday, it's incredibly useful.


Cover by at least an inch or fill all the way to the line, generally 4-6 quarts.


Assemble an onion and 5 cloves of garlic.
(I'm not sure why I took a picture of just half an onion, you should use a whole one.)


Roughly chop the onion and smash the garlic.


Toss in the pot along with 1/2 teaspoon cajun seasoning.


Cook at high pressure for 45 minutes or at a simmer for about 4-5 hours or until the meat on the ham hocks are falling of the bone.


Strain the solids and reserve your stock. You should have about 4 quarts.

If you're making both the collard greens and the black-eyed peas (recipe to follow), add enough water to give you 6 quarts.

It's ok. It's plenty rich.


==

For the peas, proper, get 4 slices of bacon or about 4 oz of end pieces.


Dice and toss into a cold pot and turn the heat to medium.

Add a splash of water to barely cover the bottom of the pot.

This helps to render the fat evenly and to keep it from burning in spots.


As your bacon cooks, prep your Trinity.


Just dice everything up about the same size.


Your bacon is done when it foams nicely.


Toss in the Trinity along with some salt and pepper. 

Be generous.


Add in 3 cloves of minced garlic.

Stir and cook for 5 minutes or so.


==

Go ahead and prep your jalapeño.


Seed it with a teaspoon.


Dice finely.

This will just add flavor, no heat.


Go ahead and weigh out your peas, 8 oz.


Measure out 1 quart of your delicious ham stock.


After about 5 minutes of cooking the veggies, add the peas to the pot.


Give them a good stir for about a minute to get them coated with the bacon fat.


Add the quart of ham stock along with the jalapeño, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning and 2 bay leaves.


Stir well and bring to a boil.


Once you reach a boil, drop the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 to 1.5 hours depending on how tender you like the peas.

I like them tender, so I go towards the 1.5 hour mark.


Cook them slightly covered, thusly:


Remove the bay leaves when done and check for salt. It'll probably need a bit. 


==

These black-eyed peas turned out nice and smokey, creamy and salty - a great side to a Southern plate.


I served mine with greens, mac & cheese and home-smoked pulled pork!


Enjoy!

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