Black eyed peas? (No, not the band!)
February 5, 2010 1:16 PM   Subscribe

What do I do with dried black eyed peas?

I impulsively bought a bag of dried black eyed peas because I thought they were "cute". Then, a few hours ago, I impulsively started soaking them in water to make some sort of bean soup. Then I went looking for recipes (I know, I know...) and now I'm finding conflicting reports on whether you need to soak them at all.

I've never even eaten them before, so I'm kind of at a loss. I was thinking of doing a sort of Tuscan white bean soup but with these instead. Good idea? Soak or not soak?

I've got veggie broth, carrots, onion and a decent selection of spices. No spinach or greens though, and we're in the middle of snowmageddon here, so I can't run out for anything. Internet searching is turning up a lot of stuff (not to mention pictures of Fergie) so if anyone has a personally tried-and-true recipe I'd appreciate it!
posted by JoanArkham to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I always pre-soak. It cuts cooking time a bit.

Don't add any salt or acid (such as tomatoes) until you've cooked the peas enough that they're tender. I like them cooked with half a teaspoon of crushed dried red pepper (pizza peppers), a teaspoon of dried thyme, a chopped onion or two, a cup of rice, and a pound of ham or smoked turkey. Here's a recipe for vegetarian hoppin' john that looks pretty good; I would omit the greens even if I had them, because I think greens go beside hoppin' john, not in it.
posted by Ery at 1:25 PM on February 5, 2010

The only reason why some say to soak and others say not to is that soaking just shortens the cooking time some. Also, sometimes soaking cuts down on the propensity for beans to give people gas.

I think a bean soup with them sounds just fine. You could also just cook the beans up themselves, dole them out into smaller containers, and freeze them, so you have cooked beans in the freezer rather than tinned beans in the panry.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:36 PM on February 5, 2010

I've never really noticed any difference in soaking or not soaking, so I never bother to soak.

Right now, I would take the beans out of the soak (change the water) and put them in a heavy, tightly-lidded pot with plain water and pop them in the oven at 275. (Oven-cooking keeps beans from breaking and makes them exceptionally creamy.) Cook till they're done (maybe a couple of hours? Check every half hour or so.)

About an hour before you want to eat your soup, saute your onions in a (second) pot over low-medium heat. Do this slowly, and don't skimp on the oil. You want them to get all caramelized and luxuriously brown. If in doubt, turn the heat down rather than up. Once your onions have some good color, add your spices and let them "bloom" in the hot oil. (Black pepper, chile powder, curry, cumin, thyme, oregano, etc -- whatever you have in a sensible combination will work here.) Now add your diced carrot and your veggie broth. Drain your cooked beans and add them. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes more, which will let the flavor of the soup infuse into the perfectly cooked beans.
posted by purpleclover at 1:57 PM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Neither black-eyed peas nor lentils need soaking to cook evenly. Everything else beany benefits from it. I usually cook black-eyed peas in a stew with sauteed onions, garlic, carrots, celery and some chopped tomatoes (canned tomatoes are fine). Being veg, I use some chipotle and some butter to stand in for the smoky flavor that smoked meats would impart. I've also made stuffed collards with them, but that's a little more fussy than stew.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:17 PM on February 5, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all! I think I'm going to go ahead and use them tomorrow, soup-style. (Although I have the Hoppin John bookmarked for next time.) Even if they don't need to soak, will it hurt anything if I just leave them as-is until then?
posted by JoanArkham at 2:37 PM on February 5, 2010

Do you have any shredded (unsweetened) coconut?

Try this:
Toss the water the peas were soaked in and put in some more fresh water and bring it to a boil. Use a spoon to pick and discard the scum that forms on top of the boiling water. Once peas are almost done, turn off the heat and let them sit.

Dice an onion, throw it into a pan with about 3 tablespoons of oil and saute it.
When the onions are clear, add about 1/4 cup shredded coconut and the following spices:
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tablespoon crushed or grated ginger (about 1")
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilie powder

Turn down the heat and stir fry them with the onions and coconut for a bit. Then add about 1/4 cup of the water the peas were boiled in, and turn the heat up and let the spices all mix up. Once that is done, add the rest of the water + peas and let cook till the peas are done.

posted by Arthur Dent at 2:42 PM on February 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

ill it hurt anything if I just leave them as-is until then?

Nah, I always put them in the fridge though. Something about tepid starchy-protein-filled water doesn't seem right with me. Probably not necessary in snowpocalypses.
posted by fontophilic at 7:32 PM on February 5, 2010

I came across this recipe yesterday that looks promising, though I have not tried making it yet.
posted by kitty teeth at 9:11 PM on February 5, 2010

I like to surreptitiously plant them in the houseplants of coworkers or friends when I'm visiting. Great fun!
posted by Daddy-O at 5:55 AM on February 6, 2010

I recommend composting them. Black eyed peas taste like dirt.
posted by Bruce H. at 9:23 AM on February 6, 2010

Response by poster: I've been oven cooking them as described above and they do smell...earthy. Going to give the soup a try though.
posted by JoanArkham at 10:31 AM on February 6, 2010

Hoppin' John. I don't soak mine, just rinse them thoroughly. The trick with it is once you add the ham and/or bacon to the beans, you need to let 'em cook for like, at least an hour and a half, preferably two hours. Seriously. You can do your taxes while you wait. Good Hoppin' John is all about getting as much ham flavor into the beans as possible, and that takes a while. Add the greens towards the end. Yum. And good luck too.
posted by ifjuly at 1:59 PM on February 6, 2010

You can also make black-eyed pea square casserole. Drain them and cook them on the stove in a saucepan with water to cover by bringing them to a boil, turning down the heat to a simmer and partially covering until tender. Partially mash 'em, mix with spinach, whisked eggs, onions or scallions, a little flour, flavors you like (chili sauce, soy sauce, herbs are all possibilities), and some butter or milk and yogurt--kinda similar to zucchini squares. Spread in a sprayed square baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F until golden, about 45 minutes or so.
posted by ifjuly at 2:05 PM on February 6, 2010

It's a few days too late, but I just spotted this delicious looking recipe. Hope it'll be useful for future readers: Black-eyed Pea Salad.
posted by dizziest at 11:54 AM on February 8, 2010

Response by poster: Well...I don't know if I did something wrong or if I just don't like black-eyed peas. But the soup never really came was more like "ingredients in broth" than soup. I think it may have been salvageable with a big hambone or something meaty, but (a) we didn't have one and (b) Mr. Arkham is a vegetarian.

Of course, if we get snowed in much longer that may be negotiable...
posted by JoanArkham at 2:05 PM on February 9, 2010

I think it may have been salvageable with a big hambone or something meaty, but (a) we didn't have one and (b) Mr. Arkham is a vegetarian.

for the record: I've found that miso or Vegemite can give a meaty taste to things.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:17 PM on February 9, 2010

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