Adventures in Eating: Black Eye Peas
Rosemarie | January 1983
Everybody has 2 bits to say about what was good or bad about the year 1982, and the soothsayers are busy forecasting 1983. So far the outlook doesn’t seem so hot. As for me, I just go on thinking about all the wonderful tastes that are still waiting to be discovered, knowing well, that a lifetime will not be sufficient for the experience of it all.
So look into your refrigerator, and see if you have a leftover ham shank or butt end that needs loving attention. To paraphrase a recent Colonel Sanders ad. “Pot Chuck”, I suggest the old split pea soup tradition for using ham bones, but launch into a custom of the old American South, using that same ham piece.
This black-eye pea casserole is a tradition in the “old south”, and is usually served on New Year’s Eve. It symbolizes good health and good luck in the year to come. Now all of us can use some of that. Plus, black-eye peas are high in protein and easy on the pocket book.
BLACK EYE PEAS
1 lb. black eye peas 1 small ham bone
3 Qts water ½ lb. cubed ham
1 onion, diced 1 Tb. lard
2 cloves garlic, chopped Salt and Pepper
5 bay leaves (I use less)
Place peas in pot and rinse several times. Add water, onion, garlic, and lard. Cover and cook slowly for one hour on medium heat. Add ham bone. If there is enough meat on the ham bone, you will not need to add the extra 11 lb. of meat. I just cut it up after it has stewed and add it to the peas. Add bay leaves, cover, and cook slowly to a creamy consistency; about 2 hours. It gets nice and thick like a soup. Add salt and pepper. I love red pepper to give it a little nip, so add that too if you like. Serves 8.
This is a hearty food, and served with a salad and crusty french bread, makes a most delicious change of pace for a meal. It can be used as a party casserole, but I would not recommend it as a side dish with another meat. Bon apetit.