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Southern Black Eyed Peas

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Southern black-eyed peas are a warm, flavorful dish made with smoked ham hock or turkey leg and perfect for serving over rice. Whether you are eating them for good luck on New Year’s Day or enjoying them year-round, this easy black-eyed peas recipe is just what you are looking for!

Southern black-eyed peas with bacon on white rice

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Eating Hoppin’ John or black-eyed peas, cornbread, and collard greens on New Year’s Day is a Southern tradition I just can’t skip every year.

Tradition holds that the black-eyed peas represent coins, the cornbread gold, and the greens represent paper money and eating them on New Year’s will bring fortune in the coming year. I’m all about that!

People seem to have strong feelings about black-eyed peas, they either love them or hate them. I think the majority of people who don’t like them just haven’t tasted them cooked properly.

\Without the proper Southern black eyed peas recipe, they can taste bland and mushy but cooked just right they are the ultimate comfort food and packed with amazing flavor! 

Ingredients

Southern black eyed peas recipe ingredients on marble countertop
  • dry black eyed peas
  • thick cut bacon
  • smoked turkey leg or ham hock
  • yellow onion
  • garlic
  • bay leaf
  • Cajun seasoning
  • chicken broth
  • salt and black pepper

Step by step

  1. Rinse the dry beans in cold water, picking out stones or bad beans. Soak them overnight in a large bowl covered with water.
  2. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven cook the chopped slices of bacon over medium-high heat until browned. Add turkey leg/ham hock and sear on all sides. Remove meat and set aside, leaving the bacon fat in the pot.
  3. Add onions to the pan and sauté over medium heat until softened. Add garlic and seasonings and cook 1 minute, stirring often.
  1. Add broth to the pan. Drain beans, rinse, and add to the pot. Return meat to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 35 minutes or until beans are tender and the broth thickens.
  2. Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper and additional Creole seasoning if desired. Serve over white rice.
ladle of black-eyed peas over large pot

Tips for best results

  • start with dry beans, I know the soaking process is long but it really does make a difference in the final recipe taste and texture
  • salt and pepper the beans to taste after the cooking process is finished, there is a lot of salt in the Cajun seasoning and the smoked meat so you may not need to use it at all

​Variations

  • add in diced red pepper or green peppers when cooking the onions
  • have a leftover ham bone? Throw it in the pot! The more flavor the better!

FAQs

Why are black-eyed peas a Southern staple?

These little legumes have been rocking kitchens for centuries! Originating in West Africa, they made their way to the Americas during the slave trade via enslaved people, particularly to the Low Country region of coastal Southern Carolina and South Georgia. Loved for their adaptability, black-eyed peas became a staple in Southern cuisine.

Do I need to use the smoked meat?

The classic Southern smoky flavor in this recipe comes from the smoked meat. If you can’t find a smoked turkey leg or ham hock you can also look for salt pork, smoked turkey wings or other turkey parts.

spoon with rice and black eyed peas

Serving suggestions

I usually serve black eyed peas over white rice but you could use brown rice as well. You can serve them with as much or as little of the cooking liquids as you like.

They taste delicious as a light meal on their own or as a side dish for pulled pork, pork chops, fried chicken, fried catfish, or andouille sausages.

Storage

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

If you try this recipe please comment and rate it below, I love hearing from you!

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black-eyed peas over white rice in bowl

Southern Black Eyed Peas and Bacon


  • Author: Melissa Riker
  • Total Time: 12 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

Southern black-eyed peas are a warm, flavorful dish made with smoked ham hock or turkey leg and perfect for serving over rice. Whether you are eating them for good luck on New Year’s Day or enjoying them year-round, this easy black-eyed peas recipe is just what you are looking for!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 pound black-eyed peas (dry)
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Smoked turkey leg or ham hock
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun/Creole seasoning I use Tony Chachere’s original Creole seasoning)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse black-eyed peas in cold water, picking out any stones or bad beans. Soak them overnight in a large bowl covered with water.
  2. In a large heavy pan or Dutch oven cook the bacon until browned. Add turkey leg/ham hock and sear on all sides. Remove meat and set aside.
  3. Add onions to the pan and sauté until softened. Add garlic and seasonings and cook 1 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add broth to the pan. Drain beans, rinse, and add to the pot. Return meat to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 35 minutes or until beans are tender and the broth thickens.
  5. Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper and additional Creole seasoning if desired. Serve over rice.
  • Prep Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: side
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Southern

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 292
  • Sugar: 5.8 g
  • Sodium: 1338.6 mg
  • Fat: 5.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 37.7 g
  • Fiber: 6.6 g
  • Protein: 25 g
  • Cholesterol: 30.8 mg

Keywords: Southern black-eyed peas

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