Saturday, January 7, 2012

Recipe #1 - BEPs

It seems fitting that the first recipe of the year is Black Eyed Peas, served over rice, with corn bread. :) I'll spare everyone the details of the rice and corn bread and just dive straight into the Black Eyed Peas.

Before I do, though, I'll be very honest up front. Rusty and I are not huge fans of BEPs (the food, that is - we both like the music group). In order for this meal to come off as a success, I really needed to make sure and find a way to spice them up a bit.

First things first - we had some left over ham still in the freezer from Thanksgiving, so I thawed this a few days before, knowing I'd want to use it all up in this recipe.

*1 bag of black eyed peas
*6 strips of uncooked bacon, cut into pieces
*3 cups of ham, sliced or diced
*1 tsp of black pepper
*1 tsp of cayenne pepper (Rusty and I do like our food a little spicy)
*just a bit of garlic powder

I first soaked the BEPs overnight in water. All in all, they probably ended up soaking for about 10 hours. Next, drain the BEPs. Return them to the pot, and cover with water. **Note - for soupier BEPs, use more water. While cooking, do keep an eye on the water level to make sure the BEPs are covered. If too much water is lost, they could burn pretty easily.** Add remaining ingredients to pot, cover. Bring BEPs to a boil over medium-high heat, before reducing heat to low. I allowed the beans to cook all afternoon, over simmer. They took about 5-6 hours to get to the consistency I desire. To cook them more quickly, use a higher heat setting.

Most of the bacon, and the smaller pieces of ham will cook away into the water, providing nothing more than flavor for the BEPs. Any kind of meats can be used, if you don't prefer bacon or ham.

I enjoy serving the BEPs over some rice and just a little bit of butter. To add even more starch, a few pieces of corn bread are the perfect thing to soak up the juices of the BEPs. :) Enjoy!!