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Black Eyed Pea Stew


Black Eyed Peas were brought to America with slaves from Africa and became popular in the Civil War days during the battle of Vicksburg. The Black Eyed Pea was referred to back then as "cow peas", as that is what was fed to the cows. During the Civil War, when Vicksburg was under siege by the Union Army, the people were forced to eat the "cow pea." Since then, the black eyed pea has become a popular, traditional food of the South. This uniquely Southern recipe for black eyed peas is lip-smacking good and full of flavor! Its funny how some kids grow up lovin foods other kids wouldnt eat on a bet. So it was with me and black eyed peas. My mom's version, this dish was adjusted to my dad's taste, achieving some seriously delectable results...and becoming one of my all-time favorites.

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  • 1 large ham hock, ham shank, or ham bone
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, hot sausage, andouille, bacon, ham, or other smoked pork
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 quarts ham stock, or chicken stock, or low-sodium chicken broth, or water
  • 2 tablespoons tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped


Servings 6
Adapted from


Step 1

Wash peas, spread out on towel and check for derbies (you don't have to soak the peas). With a sharp knife, score the skin and fat on the ham hocks with 1/4-inch-deep slashes.

Heat the oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, bell peppers and jalapeno peppers, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the ham hocks, garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas and stock. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and bring down to a medium simmer, cooking uncovered for about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, slice the sausage into 1/2" pieces and brown in a heavy skillet. (If using bacon, don't cook it until it's crisp.) Add sausage to the beans, continue a medium simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 45 to 60 minutes more, or until the peas are creamy and tender (skim off any foam that forms on the surface). Add additional stock if necessary.

Remove the bay leaves and discard. Cut the meat from the ham hocks, discarding the skin and bones. Return the meat to the pot, stir in the parsley and heat through, about 5 minutes. Check seasonings. Serve with cooked long-grain white rice, corn bread or corn muffins.

May be served over rice as a main course, as a side dish, or thinned with ham or chicken stock and served as a soup, as desired.


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