Black-Eyed Peas

This weekend I will be meeting a group of vegetarians who do a monthly food exchange. And since this is my first time, I wanted to bring something extra good.  I came across this recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Soups.  The recipe called for 8 cups of water, but I wanted it to have more of a stew-like texture, so cut it back to 4 cups.

A note about beans. Store bought are quick and easy. I’m not sure why the impression dried beans are a pain to do.  Most beans can be soaked over night, and cooked the next day for about an hour.  Plus there is something about the “calcium disodium edta” added to promote color retention that turns me off and the exorbitant amount of salt manufacturers add.

One cup of dried beans swells to 2 1/2 cups cups cooked.   So basically if a recipe calls for 1 can of cooked beans (15.5 oz) you will need to use ~3/4 cup dried beans.

I soaked the black-eyed peas overnight.  Rinsed them in the a.m.  Placed  in a pot and covered with water. Brought the water to a boil and then simmered for 45 minutes.



2 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. sesame oil

2 medium onions, finely diced

3 bay leaves

3 celery ribs, diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. cumin

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 cup dried black-eyed peas

sea salt & freshly ground pepper

1 bunch of mustard greens

1 cup of brown rice- cooked separately

Hot sauce of your choice


1. Melt the butter is a wide soup pot over medium heat and let it brown for several minutes.  Add the sesame oil, then the onions, bay leaves, celery, garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, and cumin.  Cook, stirring until the onions have browned; about 20 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, then add the beans (drain them first if you used dried), 4 cups of water (or 8 if you want it soupy), and 1 tsp. salt.  Simmer.  Taste for salt and season with pepper.

2. Simmer salted water.  Add cut mustard greens and cook a few minutes until tender.  Transfer to strainer, rinse with cold water.  Stir them into the beans.  Taste once more for salt and season with pepper.  Add a few spoonfuls of cooked rice to each bowl and serve with a splash of your favorite hot sauce.

A pic of it more soupy.

Starting Friday February 19th is Restaurant Week in Chicago.  160 restaurants each having a 3 course prix fixe menu. I’m heading to the River North area for Italian black truffle pasta and the Loop for Bertha’s brownie. Little happy dance-yeah!



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8 responses to “Black-Eyed Peas

  1. Mom

    This looks delicious. Remember the trick about not salting the beans until they are done. Did you use water or a vegetable stock. Hummm, wonder what a nice chicken stock would have done for the soup. I won’t tell if you don’t.
    Think I will check out Sweetwater farm market this Sunday, maybe some good greens to be had. It has been so cold here that I am not sure how things in the garden are doing.
    Well, this makes eating rice and beans actually seem like good eating. Include some great home made bread and I bet the cost per serving for a family is about the same as that Happy Meal.

    • Melissa

      Water was used through out the whole recipe- cooking the beans as well as at the end to make it either soupy or stew-like. There is a lot of flavor- so no stock is needed. I used a little Sriracha Hot Sauce at the end and it was soooo good.

  2. Norma Madeo

    Thank you Melissa,
    I’ve been waiting for a good Blk-eyed-peas recipe… I knew it would come!!
    Enjoy restaurant week in Chicago!!!

  3. Kelly

    Yum!! Watch your mom and her stock……LOL she is dangerous. I bet that is great. Just bought some northern beans and kale to make this weekend. The guy at Rollin Oats makes a great dish that I am going to dublicate. Now Chef Mel and Mom Thea (no salt on the beans until they are done) have given me a few pointers for my dish. Thanks.

  4. Melissa

    Kale and northern beans makes the best Caldo Gallego soup! Put a little smoked paprika in there and you are all set!

  5. Linda

    I love the sound of this recipe and can’t wait to try it, especially since I’m the black-eyed pea queen, but may have to cheat and use the chix broth. Thank you Melissa

    • Melissa

      Do share some black-eyed pea recipes. I love this recipe and wouldn’t mind trying others. I find that if you roast or saute vegetables, you can make a really nice stock. I’ve got a fantastic recipe I can share with you. Try it out and let me know what you think. The veg stocks I’ve bought at the store are not good and think they have given a bad rap to what really good veg stock can bring to a soup recipe.

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