Black-eyed peas (or beans) are also known as cowpeas and are a regular staple down South, especially in the Carolinas. Black-eyed peas are classified in the culinary world as a legume and are full of calcium and protein.
A popular dish in the Southern states using black-eyed peas is Hoppin John. Usually spicy in nature, it is considered a New Years Eve good luck dish. People would have a celebratory drink and a hot bowl of Hoppin John. My version of this recipe is a big hit when my southern friends visit and there are never any leftovers on those occasions.
This recipe can be made in two ways with one preparation. You can make it as a side dish, which will have a thicker texture, or as a soup. As a side it is a great addition to a cookout with steaks, burgers and hotdogs. The peas can easily made ahead of time and warmed up. If you have leftovers, this dish freezes really well.
1 lb. of dried black-eyed peas
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 crushed garlic cloves
1 large red onion
2 large jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and diced fine
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
1 large smoked ham hock or smoked turkey legs (meaty ones)
1 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
8 cups chicken stock or broth (12 cups if you want to make black-eyed pea soup)
2 tsp. kosher salt
A whole lot of love!
1. Rinse and sort the peas, picking out anything that looks like a rock. Follow the package directions for overnight soaking or the quick soak method, which I use, then proceed with the directions as follows.
2. Heat the oil on medium high heat in a skillet and cook the onion and peppers for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are opaque. Then, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Next, add the red pepper and chili powder. Cook for 2 minutes more.
3. Add the black-eyed peas, tomatoes, ham hocks or turkey legs, stock or broth and kosher salt. Bring to a boil and stir well. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 45 minutes or until the peas are tender.
4. Remove the ham hocks or turkey legs and let them cool down enough to handle. Then, pull the meat from the bones and chop into small pieces. Add the meat back into the pot of black-eyed peas and stir. Heat through for 1 minute. Serve.
(Serves 10-12 people)
If the peas sit in the pot for a long time they will absorb some of the liquid, which will make them thicker. That's okay if you want a thicker texture. If you want to loosen them up, just add a little more stock or broth (or water) and heat them through.