Saturday, July 17, 2010
FIELD PEAS: BLACK-EYED, CREAM, CROWDER & PURPLE HULL
Field Peas or Cow Peas can be found all over the world; from Africa, Asia & Europe to South, Central and North America. There are hundreds of varieties in four different groups and everyone has a favorite. They can be cooked fresh or bought dried and cooked.
Here in the South; peas are usually cooked with some sort of pork; bacon, fatback, ham hocks, or leftover ham were added to the pot of peas. I gave up the pork in my peas some time back but if you must go ahead and add some as it does lend a nice flavor.
My mother always added cut up or whole Okra to her peas during the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking. Although I love fried Okra, I have never developed a liking for the texture if its cooked too long as it becomes slimy. I prefer mine to have a bit of firmness to it.
Fresh peas are simple to cook. All it takes is some peas, a little seasoning, water, a pot and a watchful eye! Peas can burn in seconds if you allow the water to cook out. My family almost gave up on me ever cooking them without burning them; in fact my husband’s cousin used to cook them and hand them over so he could have some.
Leftover peas are wonderful just to eat but they may also be used to make fritters, salsas or added to salad. The Black-eyed pea Salsa is wonderful change, give it a try and surprise your family and friends at the next party and make what some call Alabama or Texas Caviar!
4 cups fresh field peas (Crowder, Purple Hull, etc)
6 cups water
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 strips cooked bacon (reserve 1 tablespoon of drippings)
5 or 6 cups whole Okra
Put peas in saucepan and add water to cover.
Bring to boil.
Reduce heat and add salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon bacon drippings.
Cook for 15 minutes.
Add Okra and cook another 10 or 15 minutes.
Serve as a side dish, over rice or cornbread.
FRESH PURPLE HULL PEAS
4 cups purple hull peas
1 – Medium smoked ham hocks or chunk of leftover ham bone
1 med. onion chopped
3 or 4 tablespoons of bacon drippings or oil to cover bottom of pan
Put oil in a pot and on a medium heat saute the onions until slightly brown.
Add ham and cover with water.
Boil ham hocks about an hour, remove and cut meat away. (if using ham bone about 15 minutes)
Discard any fat and return meat and bone to the pot.
Add peas and enough water to cover the peas.
Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook peas until they are almost tender.
Add water as needed and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Add salt as needed. You will need to taste as you cook.