The Dumpling Diary

Dis cooking so you cooking too.

Pea S. I Love You April 10, 2011

If, culinarily-speaking, there is anything to say about me, it is that I sincerely enjoy a good dried bean foodstuff. I cook with dried beans/pulses so often, that I could probably make them in my sleep. However, I would not, because I semi-recently had a very vivid dream that my kitchen was on fire. At any rate, I would like to share with you a pretty basic method for cooking the little wonders. Really basic, but wholly satisfying.
Today was extraordinarily pleasant, weather-wise, and warm weather, for some reason, always makes me want black eyed peas. Now, when I say this, please be aware that I do not condone listening to the musical group, and this is entirely unrelated to that abominable excuse for a band. If you find yourself experiencing confusion between the two, please refer to the pulse variety as, “cowpeas,” from this point on! I can also get behind, “Holstein beans,” but that is my own personal made-up variation, so don’t go asking for them in the grocery store…
Now, when I say that I cooked up some beans, I do not mean to say that I boiled them up in a pot of water until the point of nasty. This method, regardless of the beans you use, will result in a sort of gravy, which means that it’s goddamn excellent served over rice. Beans and rice? Always. This is sort of a Southern thing, although use of peppers and celery (and a good amount of the spices) aren’t always necessary. You can play around with the spices all you want, also. I usually go with a bit of a Cajun-y vibe, so that’s what you’ll see here, as far as spices go. If you use something other than black eyed peas, the timing will be adjusted accordingly, because most beans have different cooking times. Also, please be advised that soaking is a very good option, you can either go with the overnight (cover with a few inches of water and cover the bowl, overnight), or the quick-soak method, which is covering them in a pot with a few inches of water, boiling rapidly for about 3 minutes, popping a lid on, turning off the heat, and letting it sit untouched for an hour. Same result! In the end, the soaking is a timesaver for the actual cooking process. Enough of that jibber jabber though! Let’s get on with it!
Cowpeas Deluxe (I don’t know why I just decided to call it this, but let’s go with it anyhow)
Here’s the fancy shot to prove that beans aren’t just for broke-ass hillbillies (oh, to be a broke-ass hillbilly…)

And here’s the best way to eat ’em. Especially if you mix them all up with the rice, maybe a splash of Louisiana hot sauce too…

4 strips of bacon, chopped into 1″ pieces (you can use pork hocks, smoked sausage or salt pork instead, by all means)
1 small onion, diced
1 large stalk of celery, diced
1/3 cup red or green bell pepper (about 1/3 of a big ‘un)
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock (or water with bouillon, or just water!)
2 cups dry black eyed peas, soaked
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dry thyme
3/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp paprika
1-2 Tbsp Louisiana hot sauce (or whatever you prefer, you can also use 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, too )
1 bay leaf
Okay, first, get yourself a big cooking pot, preferably heavy bottomed (cast iron for the win). Saute the bacon until browned over medium-high heat, and add all vegetables, sauteing until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one minute or so, until fragrant. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and then drop the heat down to a simmer. Cover with the lid ajar for about an hour, an hour and a half, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender. At this point, it should still be pretty soupy. We want the water to evaporate, and the starches to thicken up now. So, turn the heat up over medium or so, keeping a close eye and stirring frequently (stickbottom, do not want…), with the lid off. When it gets to a gravy-esque consistency, you are done! Check for seasoning, and serve over rice.
Das all fo’ now. megohm, over and out!


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