Stewed Black-Eyed Peas
Black-eyed peas are a Southern good-luck tradition for New Year’s Day, one with deep roots in African-American culture. Simmer the peas with charred onion, chile de árbol and cloves, and they’ll soak up deep flavor. This recipe comes from the chef Mashama Bailey, of the restaurant Grey in Savannah, Ga., who makes it for her New Year's feast. Her family always cooked the beans with ham hocks, but Ms. Bailey prefers to make hers vegan, so all can enjoy it. These peas are also fairly customizable: Purée a portion of the mixture for a thicker sauce, doctor with your favorite hot sauce or dollop with sour cream to add richness.
- Serves: 12 persons
- 2pounds dried black-eyed peas
- 1sweet onion, such as Vidalia, peeled and halved through the root end (keep the root attached)
- 4whole cloves
- 1garlic head, cut in half
- 10black peppercorns
- 2dried bay leaves
- 1chile de árbol or other small dried chile
- 1cup olive oil
- 2tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Hot sauce, to taste
Step 1Put the peas in a large bowl, add water to cover by 2 inches, and soak overnight.
Step 2Blacken the onion: If you have a gas stove, turn one burner on high and place the onion halves directly on the grates next to the flame and cook, turning occasionally, until the onion is charred on all sides, about 5 minutes. Otherwise, heat the broiler and broil the onion on a baking sheet a few inches from the heat, turning occasionally, until charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Step 3When the onion is cool enough to handle, poke 2 cloves into each half, and add the onion to a large stockpot. Drain the peas, discarding the liquid, and then transfer the peas to the pot.
Step 4Place the garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and chile on a 12-inch square of cheesecloth and wrap tightly, using twine to seal the packet.
Step 5Add 6 quarts water and the spice packet to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim any foam that collects on the surface, then reduce to a simmer. Stir in the olive oil and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring and skimming occasionally, until the peas are fully cooked and the cooking liquid has thickened, 1 to 2 hours.
Step 6Discard the spice packet, season with the remaining 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste) and the hot sauce and serve.