Plain and Simple Black-Eyed Peas

Serve these with fresh sliced onions and tomatoes, hot cornbread and butter. From Patricia Mitchell's article on blackeyed pea recipes.

A heavenly meal for a Texan, a Southerner or anyone who can enjoy a meal that doesn't necessarily include a big hunk of meat.

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 1/2 pound salt pork
  • salt to taste
  1. Wash and pick over peas. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, cover peas with about an inch of water. With a sharp knife, make several cuts into the salt pork (almost down to the rind, but do not cut through). Push the salt pork down into the peas.
  2. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer about 1-1/2 hours, or until peas are tender. During cooking, check water level and add more, if necessary. Taste, and add salt if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Fresh Black-Eyed Peas

Obviously, fresh peas will cook in much less time than dried peas. The same method can be used as with dried peas, using salt pork. Just cook them until they are tender. If you are lucky enough to get a fresh "mess" of peas from someone's garden and shell them yourself, be sure to leave plenty of "snaps" (unshelled, broken (snapped) pieces about 1-1/2 inches long) for flavor.

What do I do with the Salt Pork?

The salt pork used to season the peas never reached the table at my house when I was growing up. When I was little, my mother used to give it to me to eat -- I loved it. Probably no worse for kids than today's junk food. The lean part of salt pork is delicious. The fat part is easily stripped away; then you can put the lean back in with your cooked black-eyes. Give the fat to the cats; they'll fight over it.

Kitchen tools you'll need for Plain and Simple Black-Eyed Peas:
Dutch Oven or Large Saucepan

Ready in: 4 Hrs

Recipe editor Patricia Mitchell