Cooking Louisiana - Field Peas

Field peas are a big hit here in South Louisiana. Fresh field peas are naturally the best but if we can't get those the dried type will do just fine. I prefer the small peas, some folks like the larger ones, hey, to each his own...!  Purple Hull peas are great also.

If you're going to use dry peas it's a good idea to wash them and let them soak for a few hours. 

4 cups fresh field peas
1 - 2" X 2" piece of salt meat or a few ham hocks.
1 med. onion chopped
Cooking oil or bacon grease to just cover bottom of pot. 
Pinch of garlic powder or one clove of fresh.
Small handful of fresh parsley
Salt (maybe) and fresh ground black or white pepper.
1/2 cup green onions.

Cube the salt meat in 1/2" X 1/2" pieces. Boil the meat in a few cups of water to remove excess salt, about 10 minutes. Remove and save the water.

Put oil in a pot and on a medium heat sauté the onions and salt meat or hocks until they are evenly browned.  

After onions and meat are browned add about 1/4 cup of water and stir to deglaze the pot then add peas and pepper (no salt yet). Add enough water to cover the peas. Lower the fire to med-low, cover and cook until  the peas are just starting to soften a little stirring occasionally . Add the green onions, parsley and garlic, stir and continue to cook covered. 

Taste and add salt as needed. Note: You may have to add water as the cooking progresses. When the peas are done you should have at least 1/2 the peas covered with water.  

Salt meat water: You can taste the water to see if it actually tastes good (a little meat flavor and a little salty). If it does you can add a little of this to the beans. I've seen where the water was actually bitter in which case you wouldn't want to use it.

You can use the same recipe for dried peas but they will take a little longer to cook and won't have the same "fresh" flavor. I usually boil the peas about 15 minutes and change the water before continuing with the recipe. 

Peas are usually served as a side dish over rice with pot roast or other main meat courses.







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