It’s dinner time, and you’re searching for a simple, delicious meal that the whole family will indulge on. You check your pantry for ingredient ideas, and remember you have bags upon bags of fresh black-eyed peas. Perfect! Those can either be used in the main dish or a side dish. But what should you make? How about a warm, homemade batch of chili! The recipe is simple yet delicious and filling. Luckily, Black-Eyed Peas can serve various dishes! Adding simple ingredients such as minced garlic or onions can spice up the meal. If the black-eyed pea is the main dish, we can eat it with garlic bread, vegetable, rice, or potatoes.
The History of Fresh Black-Eyed Peas
Black-Eyed Peas originated throughout parts of Africa in the 17th century. The bean is known to be plentiful with fiber, iron, protein, and potassium. As well as this, it is cholesterol-free and has a lower source of sodium and fats, making it a hearty, nutritious food. In the 17th century, black-eyed peas underwent recognition, making them known as poor person food. However, that didn’t affect one’s decision on whether or not to nourish themselves with the beans. Thus bringing it to become a type of soul food loved greatly by the African Americans. It later became an essential good luck charm. It was believed that the black dot on the bean would shield them from the well-known “evil eye.” (The evil eye was essentially a harmful spell placed on one’s behalf).
New Years Traditions
Black-Eyed peas were a beloved New Years Day tradition. Many believe this tradition may have started from the 500s A.D by the Western Europeans. Why black-eyed peas? As mentioned before, black-eyed peas were a good luck staple for the people. So, it was believed that eating these black-eyed peas on New Year’s day would preserve the people from waking up the following day with chaos on their doorstep. This tradition made sense to masses of people and developed into a southern practice as well. As I mentioned earlier, an assortment of additional fresh ingredients could be added to the meal. However, the Europeans preferred to eat plain.
Today, Black-Eyed Peas can be formulated into an array of different dishes such as, but not limited to, tacos, nachos, soups, a delicious baked bean casserole, and so much more. A simple Google search of “black eyed peas recipe” will present you with hundreds of health-benefiting dinner ideas. However, the recipe I wanted to share with you today is a simple chili. The recipe for this hearty chili will be at the end of this article. Before we get into the recipe, let’s talk a bit about cooking black-eyed peas.
Cooking With Fresh Black Eyed Peas
Before cooking fresh black-eyed peas, some people like to soak them in some water. This is not mandatory, and some prefer to include this step to adjust the overall cooking time of the peas. A quick tip to remember if you choose to do so: soaking in hot water shortens the cooking time while soaking in cold water extends it. It’s often a popularly-searched question of how long to soak these beans, and the answer is quite simple. Black-eyed peas can be washed in cold water anywhere from just a few hours to up to a few days before they mush. Soaking them in hot water is just boiling them, and this is a shorter preparation choice.
To cook the black-eyed peas, you’ll want to fill a pot with water just enough to cover the beans. Place the pot on the stove and set it to a medium-high temperature to reach its boiling point, which will only take about 2 minutes to boil.
Black Eyed Peas Cooking Methods
Cooking black-eyed peas seem to be most commonly done on a stovetop. However, there are two ways to cook these beans.
- The first way is on the stovetop. For this method, you’ll want the temperature of your stove set somewhere between low and medium. Make sure there is enough water in the pot to cover the beans fully. In addition, this method usually takes up to 2 hours. Reminder: Beans absorb water! Due to this, be sure to keep an eye on the water level and add more as it starts getting low.
- The second way is in a slow cooker/crock-pot. For this method, you’re going to keep up on the water level as well. Slow cooking the beans will also take 2 hours to cook thoroughly. However, you may not need to continuously refill the water, at least not as much as cooking on the stove.
Best Black Eyed Pea Chili Recipe
A popular, simple, and hearty recipe the whole family loves.
Prep: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: about 8 people
- 3 cups fresh black-eyed peas, cooked and drained
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, save the liquid
- 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon oil (any kind)
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 bell pepper, chopped (any color)
- 4.5 ounce can green chiles (optional)
- 3 tablespoons Chili powder (optional)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, heat oil and minced garlic until browning starts to occur. Add ground beef and cook thoroughly.
- Add the onions and assortment of spices into the pot and stir. Then, mix in bell pepper, chiles, black-eyed peas, and both kinds of tomatoes.
- Lower heat until it’s just slightly boiling and let cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve and enjoy!
Tip: Popularly served with grilled cheese sandwiches, cornbread, or garlic bread.