Purple Hull Peas with Bacon and Rice is nothing but good Southern cooking! But I didn’t grow up eating them.
Over 10 years ago, back when we lived in town, I determined to expand my culinary knowledge by buying more produce locally, here in Middle Tennessee. That was when I first encountered a legume which is a cousin of the Purple Hull Pea, called the Lady Pea, at a local farm stand. I saw a basket of hulled Lady Peas, and asked what they were. Lady Peas are a daintier, sweeter, creamier variety of field pea, and are also a cousin to the black eyed pea. Purple Hull Peas are larger than lady peas, and greener than black eyed peas. And their hull is, well, purple! And so is the little dot that’s on them (their “eye”, if you will).
But for any variety of field pea – whether black eyed pea, purple hull or Lady Pea, I’ve found that the method of cooking that I’m going to share with you in this recipe works well.
Basically, you need some kind of salted smoked pork to help you make a porkmake a pork-flavored broth called potlikker. Bacon works well, and so does salt pork. In addition to adding flavor, the crispy bacon bits out of which you’ve rendered the fat, will add a lovely crunchy texture element to the dish.
The Recipe for Purple Hull Peas with Bacon and Rice
- 4 slices of bacon
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/8 t. red pepper flakes
- 3 c. of hulled purple hull peas (or lady peas)
- 3 c. water
- 1/4 c. sliced green onions
- Cooked rice, to be served as a base. I use jasmine.
- In a large Dutch oven, fry the bacon, (rendering out the fat) until crisp; drain the bacon strips on paper towels, and then crumble it. Reserve the fat in the Dutch oven. Cook the onion in the fat, for about 4 minutes (until softened) and then add in the garlic, and red pepper flakes, and stir fry the mixture for another minute. Stir in peas and water, and cook until tender, about 30-35 minutes. Taste, and season with additional sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
- Ladle over a bowl full of rice, and top with bacon crumbles and sliced scallions.