Southern folks have sort of a love affair with black-eyed peas. Out of all the peas in the pea family, the black-eyed pea is arguably the favorite. We put them in salads, soups, and other dishes. However, the most common way to eat them is after stewing in a flavorful broth.
When you soak and cook black-eyes peas they expand. Because of that, there is a tradition in the U.S. to eat stewed black-eyed peas on New Years Day. The expanding peas represent growth, prosperity and good luck in the new year. The traditional meal also includes cooked collard greens which represent financial prosperity in the new year because of their green color. If you put these black-eyed peas over rice, you now have a dish called Hoppin’ John which is also fantastic. I always serve my black-eyed peas with my Cornbread Honey Muffins. Below is my recipe for delicious black-eyed peas. This dish is perfect for New Year’s Day or any good Sunday dinner. Enjoy!
Southern Black-Eyed Peas
1 lb. black-eyed peas, cleaned and soaked overnight (or at least 8 hours)
1 lb. smoked turkey meat, removed from the bone and cut into bite sized pieces. (Reserve the bone.)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
½ large onion, chopped
¼ onion (stem intact) pierced with 4 cloves
1 small red or orange bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups unsalted chicken broth
1. Sort through peas and make sure they are free of “bad” peas and debris. Put them in a pot, cover with cold water, cover the pot, and let the peas soak overnight. After soaking, drain and set aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a Dutch oven. Add onion and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes on medium high heat, stirring occasionally. After 2 minutes add the garlic and smoked turkey and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Next, add the spices and bay leaves and stir. Add the smoked turkey bone, the ¼ onion with cloves, and the peas. Pour in the chicken stock (liquid should be about 1 inch above peas) and bring pot to a boil.
3. After the peas are at a boil, immediately lower the heat to medium low, cover the pot and let the peas simmer for 1½ hours or until peas are tender. Stir the peas occasionally and check after 45 minutes to make sure that all of the liquid has not absorbed. Add more if needed.
4. When peas are tender, turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves, smoked turkey bone, and ¼ onion with cloves from the pot.
5. Serve peas while hot. Garnish with chopped scallions and jalapeños if desired.