The key to good black-eyed peas is a flavorful cooking liquid, ample allium components, and a generous amount of fat. I use dried beans (vs frozen or canned) unless fresh are available. Serves 6-8.
½ lb dried black-eyed peas or 1 lb fresh
Chicken or pork stock
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic
¼ c bacon fat, lard, olive oil or other flavorful fat
1 t Kosher salt
Method: Cover dried peas with water in a saucepan; keep adding water till it’s an inch above the beans. Swirl the water with your fingers and pick out any broken bits that rise to the top. Cover, bring to the boil, turn off heat and soak at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Omit this step if using fresh peas.
Drain off the water then add all other ingredients with enough cooking liquid to cover the peas. Cook 40 minutes until tender but not falling apart (the example in my picture is just past that point), adding more liquid if needed. In Texas we serve this with pepper sauce and maybe some scallions, whole or chopped, for diners to enjoy along with the beans.
Note: In rural east Texas in the summertime, many porches feature a lineup of family members patiently shelling peas, which are then sold in bags at roadside. Cream peas, crowder peas and purple-hull (considered the finest) are seen along with black-eyed peas, but the taste difference is subtle. However, fresh black-eyed peas of any ilk are a treat worth buying if you should find them at your local market.