Best Recipe: Barbecued Black-Eyed Peas

Cook’s Notes: A classic American Southern dish that tastes like home to me: Black-eyed peas with sausage and barbecue sauce. I come from Georgia, and my family often serves a side dish of black-eyed peas with rice, topped with either barbecue sauce or sweet pickle relish. My stepmother taught me to cook dried black-eyed peas in chicken broth with garlic, so that’s how I make them now. Needless, to say, you should serve this with corn bread. Eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s for good luck.

1 lb dried black-eyed peas (about 2.5 c)
4 c chicken broth
Olive oil
2 T minced garlic
1 lb link mild Italian chicken sausage, or your favorite
1 small onion, chopped
3 T brown sugar
1 T prepared mustard
1 tsp salt
1 c prepared barbecue sauce, made without high fructose corn syrup (such as Trader Joe’s Kansas City Style)

Remove any beans that are bad: discolored, cracked, or shriveled. Place the dried black-eyed peas in a strainer and rinse well under cold water. Drain.

Place the drained black-eyed peas in a large bowl or pot, and cover with 7.5 c fresh, cold water (that’s 3 c water for every 1 c dried beans). Let the covered beans soak 4 hours on the kitchen counter. They will increase in volume.

Drain the black-eyed peas and rinse again under cold water.

In a small skillet, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the minced garlic until it is toasted and brown. Set aside.

In a soup pot, bring the chicken broth to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Add the toasted garlic to the soup pot. Add the drained peas, and boil in the broth over medium-high heat, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Peas will be al dente. Reduce heat to low, and simmer vigorously for 20 more minutes until peas have absorbed most of the broth. Black-eyed peas should be tender but not mushy.

In a skillet over medium heat, brown sausage and onions; drain off excess fat. Place cooked sausage and onions in a large bowl. Stir in brown sugar, mustard, salt, and barbecue sauce.

Add the cooked black-eyed peas, and stir well to coat. Serves 6 to 8.

Recipe Sources:
Modified a recipe for “Happy New Year Peas” from Diana Rattray, southernfood.about.com.

Information on cooking dried black-eyed peas comes from several sources:
Brown, Alton. “Dried Beans Experiment” in I’m Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking

Havala, Suzanne. Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies

Lee, Matt and Ted Lee. The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners

Sass, Lorna J. Lorna Sass’ Short-Cut Vegetarian: Great Taste in No Time

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