Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Black-Eyed Pea and Cornbread Skillet

No self-respecting Southerner, I boldly say, would let New Year’s Day pass without at least one bite of black- eyed peas. They bring luck and good fortune for the New Year, and everyone can use a little bit of that. Hoppin’ John is traditional in many quarters, but peas slowly cooked with a piece of pork are the norm for many. I like to vary my black-eyed pea intake, from my classic recipe to a big bowl of Good Luck Gumbo. But no matter how you eat them, cornbread is the traditional accompaniment to black-eyes. So here’s a recipe that kills two birds with one stone, and is tasty to boot.

This recipe is very simple, though it has a couple of steps. It’s easily done while watching the football game, which I understand is a popular New Year’s Day activity, or while resting on the sofa after some late-night revelry. Season this to your own tastes, lots of spicy Creole seasoning or just a touch, tomatoes with green chile or without. I find country ham “biscuit slices” readily at most markets in vacuum packages, but whole slices are just fine. Chopped “seasoning pieces” are great for seasoning, but don’t make great eating, so avoid them. For some prosperity to go with your New Year luck, serve these with greens, like Foldin’ Money Cabbage.

Black-eyed Pea and Cornbread Skillet

For the Black-eyed Peas

4 ounces center cut country ham biscuit slices

Half of a small yellow onion

2 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (I like Tony Chachere’s)

12 ounces frozen black-eyed peas

3 green onions, white and light green part only, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon flour

1 (14.5-ounce can) diced tomatoes with green chile (or plain diced tomatoes), drained

Salt to taste

For the Cornbread:

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

1 egg

2 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

For the Black-eyed Peas:

Cut the country ham into small cubes and put it in a saucepan with the halved onion, garlic and bay leaves. Pour over 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, skim off any scum that rises, lower the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas and ½ teaspoon of the creole seasoning. Simmer for 1 hour, or until the peas are tender.

Drain the peas, reserving the cooking liquid. Discard the onion, garlic and bay leaves. Rinse out the bean pot and return it to the heat. Melt the butter in the pot, then add the chopped green onions and cook until soft and translucent, but do not brown. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until smooth and pale. Stir in 1 cup of the cooking liquid and cook until the sauce is thickened and reduced slightly, about 8 minutes. Season with the remaining ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning (or to taste). When the sauce has thickened, add the peas and ham and stir to coat. Stir in the drained tomatoes and cook until the sauce has reduced a bit more and just coats the peas, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.

Brush a 10-inch cast iron skillet with oil. Scrape the cooked peas into the skillet and smooth the top. Set aside while you make the cornbread.

For the Cornbread:

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Stir the cornmeal, baking soda and salt together in a bowl using a fork. In a large measuring jug, measure the buttermilk, then add the egg andmelted butter and beat until combined. Pour the buttermilk into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Spread the cornbread batter over the top of the peas in the skillet. Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cornbread is puffed, golden and set.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4


4 comments to Black-Eyed Pea and Cornbread Skillet

  • I am so excited to have found your blog – I did not know if you still had one. For Christmas my husband gave me the book “Foodista: 100 Great Recipes, Best of Food Blogs Cookbook.” We were at my daughter’s house near Nashville, TN. My other daughter came down from Memphis (she lives in Mud Island.) I made your Apple Pie Bars on Christmas Day and everyone loved them. I am back at home near Atlanta and hurried to my computer to see if you still had a blog. I’ll check your posts for more of your recipes. I don’t know if I’ll make the recipe on your current post but since I have been living in the South I have been making hoppin’ John and turnip greens for New Year. To tell you the truth I had never eaten turnip greens in France, or corn bread or black eye peas (I am French and was raised in Paris.)

  • Christy L.

    Stumbled across this recipe the other day… made this recipe today (adapted to be vegetarian), and it was so incredible. Thanks for sharing!

  • Just found your site this weekend. Loved the Black-Eyed Pea and Cornbread
    Skillet and the Foldin’ Money Cabbage. I’ll have to double the recipes next time, however, because they go fast. Yum!

    Thank you.

  • Patrician

    Hoo boy — just STUMBLED on your website, so will make sure I leave my e-mail address for any further postings! I am dying to make THIS recipe (gotta start somewhere…) but as I am living in South America, I am MYSTIFIED as to what “center cut country ham biscuit slices” are … sounds like EITHER ham OR biscuit … I am sure I can tget it here, but if you could post what it is and I will figure out an alternative. That SURE looks good — thanks for sharing!

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