Monday, December 17, 2007

Man Food: Black-Eyed Peas

In my house, black-eyed peas are a lick-your-fingers, stick-to-your-ribs, gobble-them-up bowl of deliciousness. At least Mr.W and his friends think so.

This is proper southern cooking, people. It's not for watching your waistline or an easy side dish. This takes hours and hours of tender lovin' care. And ham hocks. You can not have good black-eyed peas without ham hocks.

For the large group of men that we host, I made a double-batch (which is why the photo shows two ham hocks), but unless you're feeding an army, you should only make one. So without further ado, here's the recipe:

Black-Eyed Peas

2 quarts water
1 pound black-eyed peas, pre-soaked according to package directions
1 ham hock
3 slices uncooked bacon
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons creole seasoning (I use Tony's; use more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt (remember that Tony's has salt, and the ham hocks are salty--so be careful here)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (I use a tri-color pepper blend in my pepper grinder)

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Cover and boil gently until peas are tender, stirring occasionally. (This takes about 1 hour on the stove. I've also done it in the slow cooker and yesterday, in the turkey roaster, which take a good four hours on high to cook the peas.)

Remove ham hock to a cutting board. While hock is cooling, partially mash the peas. I like to use my hand blender, but have also used a plain ole potato masher. However you do it, this helps to thicken the liquid.

Continue to simmer the peas, uncovered, to reduce the liquid by half for a thick but still soupy consistency. Be sure to taste in case it needs more seasoning--but be careful. Once the liquid is reduced down the seasonings will be stronger.

While peas are simmering, cut into that cooled ham hock and pick out any meat. Discard bones, cartilage, skin and fat/gelatin. Return meat to the peas.

See this consistency? This is perfect.

Serve in bowls with biscuits for dipping.

This always gets devoured at my house. Well, almost always. See, yesterday was Man-Day here at our place, but due to this nor'easter we're enjoying, it was canceled. So even after eating them all day yesterday, we still have a big pot left.

Anyone want some black-eyed peas n' biscuits?


Sam said...

Looks really good, thanks for the link.

Amanda said...

My pleasure!

Kathy said...

Planning to make this today for our traditional Jan. 1st meal that MUST include black-eyed peas, greens, and cornbread. I always forget I'm no longer in the south when it's time to make these things. Hardly any greens to be found in the stores out here and nary a ham hock in three different grocery stores...Hah!

Kathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...


No ham hocks? How could that be?

Okay, okay, I know ham hocks are not available everywhere. Here in Central NY I can find them at Walmart & other grocery stores. But if they are unavailable where you are, you could substitute:

(a) ham bone or ham steak with small bone
(b) piece of kielbasa, cut up
(c) ham broth or stock, if available
(d) a couple of bone-in pork chops

As for greens, any mixed greens will do. A lot of frozen veg companies are providing some collards & turnip greens, as well. Escarole, rapini and spinach could fill in if absolutely necessary, though obviously completely different in flavor.

My favorite are collards, but I've never made them from scratch. I know, I should be ashamed.

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