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Cowgirl Chef: Mom’s Black-eyed Peas

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Ellise Pierce, author of “Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking with a French Accent,” offers her mother’s black-eyed pea recipe, which she recreated during her sojourn as a writer, then cooking teacher, then cookbook writer in Paris. Pierce relates that she can’t remember where she purchased her first sack of black-eyed peas in her adopted home. “It was either at one of the North African stores in Belleville, or at the Filipino grocer in my neighborhood — and when I found them in a hefty, 1-kilo bag, it was like I’d just found a piece of home.”

If the South, here in the USA is your home, or likely even if it’s not, black-eyed peas are a delicious staple on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. If you have the Cowgirl Chef’s recipe for Jalapeno Cornbread, it just gets better.

Happy New Year!

Mom’s Black-eyed Peas

Olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
1/2 of a green bell pepper, diced
About 8 ounces ham, preferably smoked ham but use whatever ham you like, cut into fat pieces
1 pound dried black-eyed peas soaked for 8 hours or overnight
About 6 cups water
A big pinch of cayenne pepper
A few drops of Tabasco sauce
Sea salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a deep, large stockpot, add the onions and garlic and turn the heat to medium. Cook until the onions become translucent , just a few minutes. Add the red and green bell pepper and let this cook for a minute or two. Toss in the ham, drained black-eyed peas, water, cayenne and Tabasco. I also add a pinch of black pepper at this point, but not the salt. I add salt later. Let this come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours or until the  peas have that nice, perfect “bite” — a pop of the skin with soft insides.

Makes 6-8 servings.

From “Cowgirl Chef: Cooking with a Texas Accent” by Ellise Pierce

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