Yes, I'm a Yankee girl but I was brought up by a southern born and bred grandmother. Southern dishes such as black-eyed peas and cornbread were a staple in our household--and for me it still is today. Over the years, I've come to prefer a spicy (hot) dish and cooled down a bit with chopped tomatoes and spring onions.
Serves a small troop! Just kidding. Serves 6-8.
The two most important steps is to soak the peas and cook slowly.
Ingredients for Black-Eyed Peas
1 pound dry black-eyed peas
1/2 - 3/4 pound fresh salt pork, cut into small strips
1 quart cold water (Add more water if you like a lot of juice.)
1 medium size onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 teaspoon red hot pepper flakes
Pour the black-eyed peas into a large heavy stock pot. Add cold water sufficient to cover at least two inches above the peas. Allow to soak for at least six hours. It's preferable to soak the peas over night. After soaking, pour off water and rinse in a strainer.
Rinse the stock pot and dry. Set the stock pot on medium heat. Add the salt pork and cook for about 5-6 minutes. Stir and occasionally turn over the salt pork so that it cooks on all sides. Some of the fat should have released into a juice.
Add the black-eyed peas and cold water. Bring to a boil. Stir in thyme, red hot pepper flakes and jalapeno pepper. Reduce heat to medium low to bring ingredients to a simmer.
Simmer for 30 minutes. Add onions and bell peppers if you want the vegetables to have a little crunch. Or add the onions and bell peppers earlier with the seasonings if you prefer the vegetables cooked to a near mush.) Continue to simmer for 30-45 minutes.
Top with fresh chopped tomatoes and spring onions. Of course, add a piece of cornbread on the side.