No Soak Black Eyed Peas Recipe
Texas might not technically be “the South,” but oh how we relish in many traditions…including eating our heart’s desire of “doctored up” black eyed peas on New Year’s for hopes of prosperity in the days to come (along with some good ol’ Southern style greens as a symbol of money [click here for recipe] and corn bread). While they might be an annual superstitious staple, they are just as enjoyable any time of the year.
Like other legumes, there are several ways to prepare black eyed peas (technically beans) properly; however, most either require pre-soaking in water or a fairly long cook time. This year…er um…let’s just say I got a slow start on January 1st and didn’t begin making the traditional holiday “fixins” until well after noon, so I needed an alternative method stat and took a chance using my trusty Dutch oven. And guess what…it worked! So well in fact, that my guests told me they were the best beans I had ever cooked!
This one pot, quick and easy, no soak, Southern-style black eyed peas recipe is pretty much a throw it all in and “set it and forget it” method that results in a creamy, perfectly cooked steaming batch of yummy eats in just over two hours. Ready…set…let’s go!
- 1 lb (16 oz) bag blackeyed peas, rinsed thoroughly under cold water in a colander
- 5 slices thick cut pork belly (or thick cut bacon)
- 2 – 32 oz low sodium chicken broth
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large bay leaves
- 2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- salt to taste, mid-cooking
- optional: 1 or 2 jalapeños, washed and slit down the middle, pepper and stem still intact
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the size of your oven, you will probably have to move your rack to the second to lowest setting to allow enough room for the Dutch oven.
Cut pork belly into ~ 1/2 inch pieces. Cook over medium heat in Dutch oven on stove top, stirring occasionally, until fat has rendered and pork almost is cooked through (i.e., slightly opaque and not yet crispy). Remove from heat.
Carefully pour in cartons of broth (the rendered fat might pop) and stir with a wooden spoon being sure to remove all of the fond from the bottom of the pot (the brown good stuff that is nothing but flavor!). Add peas, onion, garlic, bay leaves, pepper and jalapeño(s) if desired.
NOTE: Normally I would sweat the onions and garlic in the rendered fat at this point; however, for times sake I didn’t and turned out I didn’t need to. Bonus!
Stir all ingredients gently.
Place lid on Dutch oven and place in center rack in oven. Cook for one hour. Carefully remove lid and stir very gently being careful not to bust the black eye pea shells. Taste (the beans with still be very al dente) and add salt if desired. Replace lid and cook for an additional hour.
Carefully remove from oven using high heat resistant oven mitts. The Dutch oven will be hot, hot, hot! Remove lid to reveal your bounty! Notice the liquid has reduced and the peas should be plump and soft (if not cook for additional 15 minutes intervals until your desired texture is achieved).
Serve while hot. A great meal on its own – hearty and loaded with protein. The recipe can easily be made vegetarian by omitting pork and replacing chicken stock with vegetable stock or water (you will definitely need to add a lot more salt to the batch for flavor). Hope you enjoy and remember to always have fun #inthekitchen ! Cheers!
*If you don’t have a Dutch oven in your kitchen, no better time to invest in one than now. It is a super heavy vessel that can really take the heat and is so versatile. It’s great for stews, roasts, breads, casseroles, more..and even black eyed peas apparently. Some are quite costly (SAMPLE) depending on material, brand, and size; however, they are other more affordable options available through large retailers (SAMPLE). NOTE: The one I own has a phenolic handle and there is some debate about how high of a temperature it is safe to bake in (up to 350 degrees? up to 500 degrees?), so I’ve just become accustomed to wrapping the handle in two thick layers of foil in order to prevent damage. Maybe not necessary. Huh.