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Purple Hull Peas with Bacon and Rice

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Purple Hull Peas with Bacon and Rice are nothing but good Southern cooking! They are very similar to black-eyed peas, and you can use this recipe to cook black-eyed peas. But I didn’t grow up eating them.

Purple Hull Peas with Bacon and Rice

Southern Down-home Cooking, at its finest: Purple Hull Peas with Bacon and Rice.

Field Peas: the Overarching Category

Over 10 years ago, back when we lived in town, I determined to expand my culinary knowledge by buying more local produce, grown here in Middle Tennessee. That was when I first encountered field peas.

Field peas are legumes, and there are various varieties of field peas.  Among these varieties, you’ll find Purple Hull Peas, Lady Peas, and Black Eyed Peas. While visiting 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).

Purple Hull Peas with Bacon and Rice

Here’s my bowl of raw, freshly hulled peas. They’re a pale green with a purple eye.

Purple Hull Peas with Bacon and Rice

See their little purple “eye”? The purple hulls are super easy to break open, and shell.

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.

HOT TIP: When you use this method for cooking Black-Eyed Peas, and it’s New Year’s Day, you can legitimately call it Hoppin’ John.

I found the original recipe that I used in Gourmet magazine, but now, it’s housed on the Epicurious website. They used salt pork in their recipe.

Purple Hull Peas with Bacon and Rice #recipe #southernstyle #bacon #fresh #blackeyedpeas #ladypeas

This picture of a southern style recipe for fresh Purple Hull Peas with Bacon and Rice is the perfect size for pinning on Pinterest.

How Do You Cook Field Peas?

Basically, you need some kind of salted smoked pork to help you make a smoky, salty, pork-flavored broth called potlikker. Bacon works well, as does salt pork. But bacon is far easier to find, and readily available for most of us. 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

Yield: 4 servings

Purple Hull Peas with Bacon and Rice

Purple Hull Peas with Bacon and Rice

A delicious way to cook any variety of field pea - whether purple hull peas, black eyed peas or Lady Peas.


  • . 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Ladle over a bowl full of rice, and top with bacon crumbles and sliced scallions.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 221Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 207mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 7gSugar: 8gProtein: 12g
If you’re looking for recipes that make great use of some of the produce we have here in the Mid-South, you should try my recipe for  Bacon Roasted Buttercup Squash with Rosemary Honey.  
Fried Okra that’s as Addictive as Popcorn is another sure-fire winner. 

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Eva Lambeth

Tuesday 6th of August 2019

i have got to try this. It sounds delicious. I'm going to use smoke pork chops in mine. Make a big pan of corn bread!!! Ohhh and do shrimp in that. Ever so often I cook seafood for a dear friend. So the next time she comes I'm going to cook the shrimp in it. Thank you so much for sharing your tecipr.

Susan Williams

Tuesday 6th of August 2019

Hope you really enjoy it, Eva!

Mike Fowler

Monday 3rd of June 2019


Thank you for the purple hull pea recipe. I will be making it soon. Have a happy......

Neva Conner

Wednesday 17th of October 2018

This recipe, as we say in the South, is "Momma slappin' good" and easy. I make this exact recipe with the jasmine rice and a pan of cornbread and we eat it as our main dish not a side dish. If my momma tried to take it from me I would have to slap her! Lol! Just kidding!

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