Friday, July 11, 2014

Southern Field Peas and Snaps

Southern Field Peas and Snaps - Field peas cooked with green beans and served here with grilled smoked andouille sausage and cornbread.

Southern Field Peas and Snaps

It can be a little bit confusing when a Southerner talks about field peas, because kinda like with butter beans or what we mean when we say "Coke," they might be referring to any one of literally hundreds of Southern field peas.

Field peas, or cowpeas as we also know them, aren't really peas at all. They are beans that grow very well in the South because they are heat and drought tolerant and grow in just about any soil. They're categorized generally in four groups - crowder, cream, black-eyed and field peas, and there are many varieties to be found in each of those categories.

What I'm cooking up here is a tiny, tender brown field pea and what is often marketed in the frozen, dried and canned food sections of your grocery store simply as a generic field peas. These are somewhat similar in appearance to black-eyed peas, but more reddish in color like a crowder, and much smaller and more firm than black-eyes.

Y'all already know my favorite dried bean brand, right?
Unless you grow them yourself, fresh peas are most easily found at local farmer's markets, though expect to pay a premium price for them when they are already shelled for you.

Many of you may remember hanging on the porch with your grandmother every summer shelling peas from a big washtub on the porch, oversized bowl in your lap - and you know that it is indeed quite a bit of work. With nothing but the sounds of nature around you, those were the best times for connecting - just sitting and talking about your day and about life in general really. You can still buy peas in their pods, of course, and shell them yourself, though you'll generally have to get those at a pick your own farm.

Although most Southerners have some minor variation in the preparation and seasoning of the different types of Southern peas that we enjoy, this basic method may be used for all of them, and in fact, for a medley mix of them. While they're perfectly good all on their own, a favorite Southern preparation for field peas is with snaps, or as we know them, simply green beans, though fresh okra is also a typical addition and helps to thicken the pot likker up a bit.

These are great as a side dish to any meal, but one of my favorite ways to serve them is with a couple of links of grilled andouille smoked sausage tucked right into the bowl, some cast iron skillet cornbread with some greens, sliced, garden tomatoes and sweet or pickled onions on the side. Now that's a mighty fine meal.

Here's how to make my Southern Field Peas and Snaps.

Rinse field peas and place into a large pot or Dutch oven. If preparing from dried, presoaked peas, cover with water, add salt pork, bacon or ham hock, and chile pod, if using. If using fresh pea, you'll be putting all of this in the pot all at once.


Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered, at a bare bubble for 1 hour.


Heat bacon drippings in a separate skillet and add the onion. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add garlic and seasonings; cook and stir another minute.


Transfer to pea pot. Rinse, trim and snap green beans in half or thirds, depending on their size. Add to pot, bring peas to a boil, reduce and simmer over a medium low heat, until peas are tender, another 25-30 minutes.

If preparing from fresh or frozen, place everything into the pot all at once and cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until beans and peas are tender. Add butter or bacon fat and stir in; taste and adjust seasonings as needed.


I like to serve these as a side dish for many different meals, but one of my favorite ways to eat field peas is with grilled andouille sausage and cornbread on the side. It's not traditional with Southern peas, but here in the Deep South we tend to add rice when we serve any kind of a bean.




Recipe: Southern Field Peas and Snaps

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 1 hour 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings


Ingredients
  • 1 pound of shelled fresh, frozen or dried field peas
  • 10 cups of water
  • 4 ounces of salt pork, bacon or a small ham hock
  • 1 dried whole red chile pepper, optional
  • 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings
  • 2 cups of chopped onion
  • 1 large toe of garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed dried herbs (such as Herbes de Provence), optional
  • 1 pound of fresh green beans
  • 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings or butter, optional
Instructions

Rinse field peas and place into a large pot or Dutch oven. If preparing from dried, presoaked peas, cover with water, add salt pork, bacon or ham hock, and chile pod, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered, at a bare bubble for 1 hour.

Heat bacon drippings in a separate skillet and add the onion. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add garlic and seasonings; cook and stir another minute. Transfer to pea pot. Rinse, trim and snap green beans in half or thirds, depending on their size. Add to pot, bring peas to a boil, reduce and simmer over a medium low heat, until peas are tender, another 25-30 minutes.

If preparing from fresh or frozen, place everything into the pot all at once and cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until beans and peas are tender.

Add butter or bacon fat and stir in; taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve as a side dish. Also excellent with grilled andouille sausage and cornbread.

Cook's Notes: Fresh peas will often throw off foam as they cook. Simply skim it off as you see it. For less intense heat, split the pod on the chile pepper and remove the seeds. May substitute Creole or Cajun seasoning if you prefer. Fresh peas are the most flavorful and will cook up in about half the time of dried, but depending on the type of pea, soaking dried peas overnight will help to accelerate that.

May also use this recipe for black-eyed peas, crowder peas, lady cream, purple hull, and many other Southern cowpeas. For a boost in the flavor, use chicken broth for all or part of the water. For mixed herbs, I use dried Herbes de Provence, which contains rosemary, marjoram, thyme and savory. If using okra, allow for about 15 minutes of cooking time, adding the okra depending on the cooking time for the type of pea (fresh, frozen, dried) you are using.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on July 11, 2014
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14 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Cheryl! I do love me some Southern peas!!

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  2. In all my life I never had or saw field peas with snaps. How weird is that since I THINK we grew up in the same area lol. That looks so good I can't wait to try it and can't believe I never thought to combine the two. Like you wrote, it's a meal in itself to me.

    I love your comment about tossing rice in peas (and yes, I use the word loosely as you do lol, beans, peas, whatever, we know what we mean, let the lawyers argue the semantics....... oh wait you ARE a lawyer aren't you or do I have my brain warped ?) All the Johnny come lately's know about red beans and rice but down on the coast, we always used what ever type we had. My heart hurts for folks who grew up WITHOUT andouille lol.

    LOL I'm about to make some dirty rice but I DO happen to have a bag of fresh blackeyes, some snaps, AND some andouille lol. I'll wait til honey gets home Sunday though to do that.

    NOTE: I just noticed your "toe" of garlic. It's been a coon's age since I heard that phrase. I've been away from the MS Gulf Coast for too long lol.

    Emugg

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    Replies
    1. Ooops! That "toe" sneaks in there every once in awhile! :) That's what I grew up knowing cloves of garlic to be but I have tried to write the recipes so folks know what I'm talking about. So funny that somebody else knew what a toe was!

      You have a good memory! I wasn't a lawyer but I worked for more than 20 years in the legal field and was a paralegal - which is pretty close if you know what you're doing and I did! I miss that some days but then I remember the stress and I think the work I do here are much more suited to me at this age!!

      Thanks for the sweet note and well, I can't wait to hear what you think about the blackeyeds and snaps with that andouille! :)

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  3. Love me some field peas and snaps. Didn't most of these varieties come from Africa? I am certain the crowder peas do but not sure about the others. It makes sense they'd grow well in the arid soil of the South.

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  4. Love your post. Thanks for sharing :)

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  5. Wow. No DOUBLE wow. I've et field peas before. I've et "snaps" before. I've et andouille before. I read the recipe and and figured it would be good but I wasn't expecting the second coming of Christ or anything........... man was I wrong.

    I had fresh black eyes so I used them. I used a jalapeno since I had it and not a dried red pepper. Other than that, I followed that recipe to the letter. I had a nice pack of chunked country ham (salt pork) and some of that fancy named french herb mix you called for and I can't pronounce,that I bought from Penzies a while back for a recipe I never made. The andouille was just some brand Kroger here in Atlanta carried and certainly not a great one like I would have gotten in God's Country, I mean the MS Gulf Coast.

    It turned out to be the best thing I've made since who flung the chunk.Simply amazing. I would have never thougth it would be this good. I was going to take some to Sherrie, but it was so good me and Honey ate it all. I didn't even make cornbread (which I regret lol).

    I don't know if I want to make this again. I don't know what magic happened in my bean pot, but I'm not convinced I can duplicate it lol. Well regardless, I am going to HAVE to make this again. I don't know that I will EVER make red beans and rice or green beans (snaps) and red taters ever again.

    Emugg

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    Replies
    1. Well, thanks so much!! But you know that you cannot forgo all those foods anymore than I can. I just got back from the Farmer's Market with some of the big sandwich tomatoes, fresh okra, butter beans and a new fig tree to plant in my new yard!

      Your post, as always, brought a big ole smile to my face this afternoon. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. That's just some good eating right there!!! PINNING!!!

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    Replies
    1. It sure is Kim - thanks so much for the pin!

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  7. Thank you Mary for reminding me just how delicious this dish is! I'll have to make soon! Nothing beats fresh peas like this! Years ago I was married to a business man that was a CEO for his company & I'd made a pot of pease like these & he talked about at work the following week. Well he had a buddy that worked with him & being from Texas he said "man we haven't eaten like that in a long time. Long story short he had his wife fix some the following weekend & his 10 year son ate two huge platefuls & looked at his Dad & "Gee Dad, this is good! It's a shame we can't afford to eat like this more often"

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