Homestyle black-eyed peas

Even if you think you don't like black-eyed peas, this homestyle version is sure to win you over. In the South, it's a tradition to eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day.

A Palatable Pastime
Homestyle black-eyed peas balance out the rich foods of holiday feasting. It's a Southern tradition to eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day.

I was always fond of black-eyed peas, even as a child.

I recall my brother Mike hated them. My mother’s recipe wasn’t exactly like this but even so, I appreciated their earthy flavor. I’d like to think I could have won him over with this batch.

I have done the impossible before, getting my other brother to actually enjoy eating okra. (He did not even recognize it, so removed was my recipe from the nightmare he remembered – frozen veggies boiled to a soggy mess.) Since Mike has since passed, I turn to you, who also may have wrinkled your nose at the sight of black-eyed peas.

I urge you to try this recipe that has bit of heat from chilies and Cajun spice. Pair these black-eyed peas with some skillet cooked smoked sausage or a piece of crispy fried catfish.

Homestyle black-eyed peas
Serves 6

8 ounces dried black-eyed peas, sorted
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 rib celery, diced
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced roasted green hatch chilies or other green chilies
½ to 1 fresh jalapeno, depending on your heat preference, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons Tony Chachere’s Cajun spice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups warm water

1. Sort peas and cover with water by about an inch. Bring to a boil; boil 3 minutes and remove from heat; let sit covered 1 hour.

2. Drain peas and set aside.

3. Brown the chopped bacon and when it is half cooked, add the celery, carrot, and onion, stir and cook until the vegetables are mostly soft.

4. Stir in the chiles, jalapeno, and chopped garlic and about 1 cup of the water.

5. Stir the tomato paste, chili powder, Cajun spice, black pepper and thyme in.

6. Finish adding the water along with the soaked peas; bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

7. Remove lid and simmer 20-25 minutes more, just long enough so that it is thick as you like. If you like it soupy, just serve after 1 hour.

Related post on A Palatable Pastime: Spicy black-eyed pea soup

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