The Musts (aka the brutally obvious):
- 1 package of black eyed peas (normally 1 lb).
- Liquid (about 3-3 ½ quarts of liquid- being water, stock or a mix of both. 4 cups= 1quart).
- Salt and Pepper (at least 2 teaspoons of each. I prefer kosher salt and ground black pepper. If you use ham or a ham hock, do not add salt until towards the end).
- Raw onions (at least 1 large onion. I like onion so I added 2).
- 1-2 bay leaves (whatever rules you use to when cooking bay leaves still apply here).
The Optionals: (*= amounts used are to your liking)
- 1 pound of meat (pork, bacon, salt pork, how jowl, ham hock, ham bone w/ meat), chicken, turkey- which I used here (beef doesn’t work so well, in my opinion).
- Garlic (to your liking, but at least 2 cloves would be suggested. I use more)
- *Pepper flakes or hot peppers.
- *Paprika (I prefer hot Hungarian but sweet paprika could be a substitute).
- Diced tomatoes (fresh or canned, no more than 12 oz if you use them).
- Celery (no more than 4 stalks in my opinion).
- Cayenne (again to your preference).
- Thyme (I added 1 teaspoon).
Now for the meat of the matter. How did I cook them? First, they must be soaked for at least 8 hours (listed below). I soaked them almost 24 hours because of time and other things that came up. Then drain them as shown below (as you would with pasta) and noticed that they have expanded. Below is what 1 pound of black eyed peas looks like after soaking:
Normally, you take the meat (sausage) and sauté together with the onions and celery in olive oil (which I prefer) or butter until they sweat. I would say 5-10 minutes. In this case, the meat was already cooked so I added the turkey towards the end (the last 60 minutes or so). I did use both dark and white meat. This is the same turkey I blogged about a while back.
Using a post of at least 6 quarts, add the liquid, and bring to a boil. Then add the black eyed peas (and port if you used it) for about 10-15 minutes. I would add all the remaining spices, and even add a "pinch" more garlic. If you use pork, be careful of how much salt you use (you may not need any at all until the last stage of cooking). The ham hock or ham bone would go in first and boil for about 1 hour. Then add the black eyed peas. Once this is done, simmer for at least 1 hour but you could cook for 2 hours. As long as the peas have not split, you're ok.
Lastly, let the flavors settle for a bit (5-15 minutes) and serve with rice. Trust me, they taste better in the days ahead. They do freeze well but don't freeze them with rice.
Last. Plate up with some rice & eat!!!!!!
1. "Black Eyed Peas: Not Just Good Music, but Good for Your Diet Too", Joshinda Williams, Associate Content Internet site, July 2, 2007 : "Black Eyed Peas: Not Just Good Music, Good for Your Diet Too", Joshinda Williams, Associated Content Internet site, 7/2/07