Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle Cooking Black-Eyed Peas

By Mick Vann

JANUARY 4, 1999: 

Salting the cooking liquid for dried black-eyed peas slows the cooking time and toughens the peas; add it later or don't use salt at all (I use rich chicken stock to cook mine). Simmer, don't boil. Boiling makes the pot overflow, makes the peas fall apart, and causes the skins to separate from the peas. For the softest peas, cover the pot while cooking and add a little oil if you're not adding fatback, saltpork, ham, or bacon. To reduce flatulence, change the soaking water twice during the soaking process and once after the peas have simmered for about 30 minutes. One pound of dried peas equals about 2 1/2 cups of uncooked peas, or about 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups cooked. Be sure to pick through the dried peas first to remove any dirt clods or pebbles. And remember, no self-respecting Yankee would ever eat a black-eyed pea; they consider them to be fit only for fattening up cattle. Go figure!

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