This is the final dish we served on New Years Day and the one of which I’m most pleased as I made it by adapting several recipes and it was delicious – my Mississippi friends thought so and even my Chicago transplant friends, who’d never eaten black eyed peas, enjoyed it. Most recipes I've seen for this meal have the greens served on the side with the rice either cooked in or topped with the peas, but I wanted a one pot meal that required very little attention during our little party.
Adapted form several recipes but primarily Mary’s Black Eyed Peas at Deep Dish South
¼ cup olive oil
1 country ham hock
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup medium green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound Kielbasa smoked sausage, halved lengthwise then cut crosswise into 3/8" slices
About 1½ quarts chicken broth, divided
1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through
1 can Rotel
1 to 2 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed and chopped small, or to taste
Couple pinches of salt, or to taste
15 turns of the pepper grinder, or to taste
½ tsp Zaterain’s Creole Seasoning, or your favorite (more or less to taste)
½ tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
2 bay leaves
Additional water or chicken stock, if needed
1 cup rice of choice (more or less as desired - we used the whole grain we had on hand)
1 bunch of your favorite greens (about a pound), tough stems removed, washed, and shredded (we used kale).
Put oil in a large pot, add onion, celery, bell pepper and sauté until softened. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, then add Kielbasa and lightly brown. Then slowly add one quart of stock, stirring to deglaze the pot as you do, and bring it up to a full boil. Add the ham hock, reduce heat and simmer for an hour (I did this several hours ahead).
Once this cooks, add the dried peas (or pre-soaked if you like), Rotel, jalapeno, salt, pepper, Cajun/Creole seasoning, cayenne, and bay leaves and bring it all to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and partially cover, cooking for about 1½ - 2 hours, or until peas are tender and creamy. Remove bay leaves and ham hock – remove meat from hock, chop, and add back to peas.
Meanwhile in another pot, cook the rice in chicken stock. It could have been cooked with the peas, but this gave me better contol of the liquid amount.
Meanwhile (again), add a little olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium, heat and add as many greens as the pan will hold. As they wilt, turn them and add more until all have been wilted.
About 30 minutes prior to serving, stir greens and rice into the peas and again adjust liquid if needed and seasonings. I cooked the rice and greens several hours ahead of time.
When done cooking, I poured the finished dish into a slow cooker on warm and it required no more attention from me. I’m sure it could have been cooked entirely in the slow cooker, but since I didn’t know how long it would require and I wanted to serve them at a specific time, I used a pot on the cook top method. Serve them up with some hot cornbread and your luck is set for the year – I ate two helpings and another for breakfast the next day just to be sure.
Have a great day and now it’s another week of leftovers, but I don’t think I’ll be able to turn clam chowder or Hoppin Johns in to much else.