Call it Southern-style, Low Country, or Soul Food, and by adding a ham hock or a leftover ham bone, you raise a humble pot of beans to a whole other flavor profile. If you are cheap like me then you froze the ham bone from that less-than-a-dollar per pound holiday Shank Half Ham.
And for the upcoming New Year's Day Celebration, my Black-eyed Peas just need some rice to make the Southern traditional Hoppin' Johns. You can cook some rice with the finished Black-eyed Peas (about 20 minutes of simmering, covered) or steam the rice separately and add the Black-eyed Peas when you are ready to celebrate.
You'll be surprised by all the ham you can pull off the bone, after it has simmered in the pot of beans for a couple of hours. Just watch my latest recipe video of Soul Food-Style Black-eyed Peas with Ham to see what I mean.
Cooking with leftover smoked pork is how they do it in the South, heck, I'm sure that's how they do it everywhere. (If you don't have a leftover ham bone or ham hock, it's okay to use a few slices of bacon or any cheap smoked pork or turkey meat, like: neck bones, tail, leg and wing.)
This recipe can be applied to most any type of dried beans: black, white, red, pinto, lima, green pea, lentil, etc. Only the cooking time will vary -- beans like pinto and black beans need 3 to 4 hours, while lentils cook through in half an hour. Make sure to read the package directions for cooking times.
Surprisingly Black-eyed Peas are more expensive than the average legume, over a dollar and a half per pound -- at least in Los Angeles grocery stores. Maybe they are cheaper in the South? Well, I got mine with a dollar coupon from Ralphs, so my recipe hits all my cheap$kate price points. Even at full price you'll get half a dozen servings, so it's still a tasty budget recipe. I also used an onion, one bay leaf, and some chopped garlic -- all inexpensive ingredients.
For your next homemade pot of beans on a cold winter day, go with The 99 Cent Chef's smoked pork addition -- you'll drive your household crazy with the tantalizing aroma that comes with slow cooking Soul Food-Style Black-eyed Peas with Ham.
Blackeyed Peas with Ham - VIDEO
Play it here, video runs 2 minutes, 21 seconds.
My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.
- Ingredients (about 6 servings)
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
- 1 leftover ham bone or ham hock - You are going for the smoked pork flavor. Okay to use 4 slices of bacon cut into 1 inch pieces. You can brown the bacon first and add the amount of bacon fat you feel comfortable with. Also, okay to use a small ham steak cut into cubes, or any cheap smoked meat.
- 1 whole large onion - or 2 small onions, white or yellow.
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic - fresh or from jar.
- 1 stalk celery - optional
- 8 cups of water - add more if needed during cooking.
- Salt and pepper to taste - or any favorite seasoned salt, like Creole Seasoning.
Check black-eyed peas for pebbles or discolored peas and discard. Rinse off back-eyed peas.
Add black-eyed peas and ham bone, ham hock, or bacon, to a large pot with 8 cups of water.
Chop onion and celery into 1 inch pieces. Add to pot of peas. Season with salt and pepper or Cajun Seasoning.
Bring the pot of peas to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover pot and cook about 2 hours. Check and stir every half hour or so. (Add water should it cook out, for whatever reason.)
Black-eyed Peas should be tender. Remove ham bone or ham hock (no need to take out bacon) and peel off the meat. Add the ham pieces back to the pot, mix well, and low simmer uncovered another half hour.
That's it. Pretty simple to make and you can use this recipe for any of your favorite dried legumes, including: red, white or black beans, pinto, lentils and green peas. Cooking time will vary as some beans need 3 to 4 hours of low simmering. Dried lentils cook the fastest - about 30 minutes.