These easy black eyed peas are made with dried peas, slow cooked with a simple combinations of bacon, ham hock, and seasonings.
For this recipe, the black-eyed peas are cooked separately on the stovetop until tender and then they're added to the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker. Many people have difficulty with peas and beans becoming tender in the slow cooker. This can be cause by salt or acidic ingredients, hardness of the water, or the age of the peas or beans. Pre-cooking the peas ensures the peas will be tender and done in a reasonable amount of time.
- In a large saucepan, cover the peas with water to about 3 inches over the peas. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until peas are tender.
- Meanwhile, place the ham hock, sliced onion, bacon, pepper, garlic and salt in the slow cooker. Add 3 cups water. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour.
- When peas are tender, drain and transfer to the slow cooker. Reduce heat to LOW; cover and cook for 5 to 7 hours.
- Remove the ham hock from the pot. Remove the meat from the hock and shred or chop. Add the meat back to the peas.
- Taste and add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
- Serve the peas with freshly baked cornbread.
Serves 6 to 8.
Tips and Variations
- Add about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes instead of cayenne pepper.
- Add 1/2 cup of chopped green or red bell pepper to the crock pot along with the onions.
- Add about 1/2 cup of sliced celery to the crock pot along with the onions.
- Add a teaspoon or two of jalapeno peppers to the crock pot.
- Instead of a ham hock, add a meaty ham bone along with leftover or purchased diced ham.
- Replace the ham with about 12 to 16 ounces of sliced or diced smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa.
- For Southwest flavor, add a teaspoon of chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin to the crock pot with the peas.
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