To ring in 2011, I made my own version of a slow-cooker Hoppin' John; basically a combination of black-eyed peas, collard greens and smoked sausage cooked altogether overnight. To me, black-eyed peas aren't just for New Years - I enjoy them year-round. What's not to love? They're delicious, DIRT cheap, good for you, and easy to cook. Cooked black-eyed peas also keep well, so you can make a big batch at once and enjoy the leftovers for several days.
Most people assume you have to slave over a hot stove for hours to prepare dried beans; though dried beans DO take longer to cook, this recipe utilizes the under-appreciated slow cooker, which does all of the work for you. The best part is that you don't even have to soak the peas overnight. In as little as three hours, you can have Southern black-eyed peas that will taste as if they've been slow-simmering in a cast iron pot all day.
I modified this recipe from Beth's wonderful recipe at Budget Bytes. I've added some celery, and used a ham flavoring instead of chicken. Even though I used fresh vegetables, you can easily use frozen chopped onions & celery as well as jarred minced garlic to save time when preparing this dish. The vegetables cook down, so nobody will ever notice the difference!
Slow-Cooker Black-Eyed Peas
loosely adapted from Budget Bytes
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 lb dried black-eyed peas, picked through & rinsed
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 packet Goya Ham-flavored seasoning
8 cups water
Cured ham (optional)
Chopped onion, celery & garlic...
Black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, thyme & bay leaves.
You can find the ham seasoning in the Hispanic aisle of most grocery stores. Or at most Hispanic markets.
Place the onion, garlic and celery in a slow cooker along with a few Tbsp of olive oil. Add the rinsed peas, bay leaves, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper and ham seasoning.
Just toss the veggies into the slow cooker...
Add the black-eyed peas...
And your spices...
And the ham seasoning.
Add 8 cups of water, cover the slow cooker, and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours or until the beans are tender.
It's ok to have more water than necessary; much better for the peas to have extra liquid than not enough!
About an hour before serving, if desired, add some cured ham and let warm through. Serve the black-eyed peas on their own as a meal, or as a side.
I didn't have any leftover ham, but this is the next best thing.
You can even add the ham at the beginning as well.
Mine were done right at the 6-hour mark (I cooked mine over LOW heat)