Old-Fashioned Black-Eyed Peas

December 24, 2019 Updated: December 24, 2019

Adjusted for cooking time, this classic down-home recipe can be used to prepare almost any type of dried pea or bean. Some cooks prefer to use ham hocks or a meaty ham bone (remove the bone and shred the meat into the beans after cooking) instead of sausage. Either way, it makes a satisfying dish, particularly on a cold evening.

Makes 12 to 16 servings

  • 2 pounds dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 pound smoked sausage or andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 rib celery, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, chopped (optional)
  • 10 cups chicken broth or water
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the black-eyed peas and pick out any discolored peas. Place in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand in a cool place for 4 hours or overnight, allowing the peas to rehydrate. Drain the peas in a colander.

In a deep soup pot over medium-high heat, sauté the sausage with vegetable oil. When sausage begins to brown, add the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and jalapeños. Sauté until onions become translucent, about 3–5 minutes. 

Add drained black-eyed peas to the pan, along with broth or water. Stir well. Add bay leaves, thyme, and sage to the pot. Allow mixture to come to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring often and adding more liquid if needed. Consistency should be thick, creamy, and tender. 

Remove from heat. Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve over steamed rice or with a side of cornbread and pepper vinegar.