Black-eyed Peas

THE BLACK-EYED PEAS (music): The Black Eyed Peas (Southern side dish).

In the early 2000s, the group, The Black Eyed Peas, had a song that I still play to this day that I just love called “Pump It.” It was the first rap song I really liked, and I loved the way it was arranged.

I thought I’d begin my recipe narrative with an homage to their music. And I wonder if the Black Eyed Peas ever eat black eyed peas. But down to business.

I have visited the south, and I wanted to try this iconic dish. Maybe I was just unlucky, but I never found one worth raving about. The broth was always a little thin, the integrity of the pea was either too mushy or hard, and there was either too much hot sauce or not enough.

It was a suggested side when serving a country ham, so I decided to make it my project and create it to my tastes. I named my recipe Southern Black-eyed Peas. I know this is a bit deceiving, because “THE SOUTHERN I’M REFERRING TO IS SOUTHERN NEBRASKA,” so

They’re black-eyed peas.

They’ll drop you to your knees,

And, if you’re anxious to please,

You better make your family some.


Add your skillet cornbread,

Or your creamy grits instead,

And that being said,

You’ll like the outcome.


A slice of ham on the plate

To round it off would be great,

And wash it down with beer

But to make it perfectly clear…


What’s featured is those


Make ‘em spicey and hot,

And let them know you haven’t forgot

Be sure to have some sour cream handy,

And, of course, that Louisiana Hot Sauce would be just dandy.

Mm. Mmm. – Bob Miller

Black-eye Peas (Southern side dish)

yields: 8 servings prep time: 2 days prep cook time: 30 min
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2 cups 8 oz. 8 oz. 3 cloves 4 cups 1 1/2 tsp 8 oz. Salt and pepper 2 Tablespoons 1 dash 1
Dry black-eyed peas Chopped pancetta (can sub either lardons or bacon) Chopped onions Garlic (minced) Broth (chicken) Bay leaf Chili pepper flakes (can sub Slp Yo' Mama spice) Fresh-cut greens To taste Italian parsley (minced) Hot sauce (and more at the table) Jalapeno pepper (sliced as a garnish)
  • 2 cups
    Dry black-eyed peas
  • 8 oz.
    Chopped pancetta (can sub either lardons or bacon)
  • 8 oz.
    Chopped onions
  • 3 cloves
    Garlic (minced)
  • 4 cups
    Broth (chicken)
  • 1
    Bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp
    Chili pepper flakes (can sub Slp Yo' Mama spice)
  • 8 oz.
    Fresh-cut greens
  • Salt and pepper
    To taste
  • 2 Tablespoons
    Italian parsley (minced)
  • 1 dash
    Hot sauce (and more at the table)
  • 1
    Jalapeno pepper (sliced as a garnish)


The day before:

  • Rinse black-eye peas thoroughly under cool water.
  • Place peas in a large bowl. Cover with cold water and soak for six hours or overnight.

The day of the event:

  1. Drain and rinse peas and set aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the pancetta until crispy.
  3. Drain the pancetta on paper towels, leaving one tablespoon of fat in the bottom of the Dutch oven.
  4. Add onions to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring often.
  5. Add garlic and cook, often stirring, for 2 minutes until translucent.
  6. In the Dutch oven with onions and garlic, combine peas, pancetta, and broth. Stir well.
  7. Add bay leaf and chili pepper flakes, and stir again.
  8. Set aside and cool.

One hour before serving:

  1. Bring pea mixture to a low boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes or until peas are tender and can be pierced with a fork.
  3. Add the green, salt, and black pepper to taste. Cook another 4 minutes or until greens have wilted.
  4. Garnish the dish with parsley and hot sauce. Add a dollop of sour cream if you would like.
  5. Serve hot with a few slices of jalapenos.


Serve with:

  • Ham or butterflied pork chops.
  • Sweet potatoes.
  • A drizzle of EVOO, a dollop of sour cream, a couple of dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce added to the peas.
  • Recommend a Rose or Zinfandel.
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