Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Pork

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Before the Civil War Black-Eyed Peas were called field peas and generally used to feed the cattle grazing in the fields. Northern troops often found themselves cut off from supply routes while in the South and would raid homes and plantations for food and other necessary (and sometimes unnecessary) supplies. Unfortunately, this left the Southerners with very little to eat other than the field peas and salted park. Out of those desperate times came what would become a signature southern favorite — black-eyed peas cooked with pork. It has become a New Years tradition to eat Black Eyed Peas for good luck in the coming months. This recipe from the Neely’s is just about as close to perfection as it comes. It uses both pork shoulder and bacon for flavor along with cayenne pepper for a little bite. It takes a little time, but is well worth the effort to bring this truly historic dish to the table. Happy New Year!!


BLACK-EYED PEAS WITH BACON AND PORK (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas (fresh or canned black-eyed peas can be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces pork shoulder, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 strips thick sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, small diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Hot sauce, as desired

Directions:

  1. If using dried black-eyed peas, put them in a large pot and cover with about 4 inches of water. Soak the peas overnight, then drain the water and rinse. Alternatively, you can “quick-soak” the peas by bringing them and the water to a boil for 2 minutes. After this, remove them from the heat, cover the pot and soak the peas for 1 hour. Then, drain and rinse the peas.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork. Sear until the pork is browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the bacon, onion and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion and garlic are lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the salt, black pepper, cayenne and garlic powder. Cook until the entire mixture is coated with the spices, about 2 minutes. Pour in the stock and water and drop in the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.
  3. When the pork begins to fall apart, add the prepared peas to the pot and simmer until the peas are very soft, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Taste for seasonings, and add some hot sauce, if desired. Discard the bay leaves and transfer the black-eyed peas to a serving bowl.

Cooks Note: Using the back of a spoon, smash some of the peas against the inside of the pot then stir them into the mixture. This will break up some of the peas and give them a creamier consistency. Alternatively, you can puree 1 cup of the peas and broth in a blender or a food processor, then return the puree to the pot.

From FoodNetwork/TheNeelys.com

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About Worth Stopping By . . .

I am a blogger who would rather talk than write. I enjoy traveling, family time, friends and food/fine dining. I have made some real efforts in the kitchen lately, and I blog in order to document and motivate myself to: 1.) fully use all of the fresh ingredients in my kitchen and 2.) cook healthy, creative meals.

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