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Southern Black-Eyed Peas

I find pork the secret to a good black-eyed pea recipe. A double dose of ham for flavor and slow and gentle cooking creates this perfect side dish. —Emory Doty, Jasper, Georgia
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + soaking Cook: 45 min.
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces sliced salt pork belly, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 carton (32 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 smoked ham hocks


  • Place peas in a Dutch oven; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse peas, discarding liquid; set aside.
  • In the same pan, saute onion in oil until tender. Add the pork belly, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, pepper flakes and pepper; cook 1 minute longer.
  • Add the broth, ham hocks and peas; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes or until peas are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water if desired.
  • Discard bay leaves. Remove ham hocks; cool slightly. Remove meat from bones if desired; finely chop and return to pan. Discard bones. If desired, top with additional fresh thyme.
Nutrition Facts
3/4 cup: 359 calories, 11g fat (3g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 788mg sodium, 48g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 14g fiber), 20g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • margaret
    Jul 23, 2020

    the salt pork belly isn't needed to me, the smoked ham brings enough flavor. I cooked them separately longer in the dutch oven and it was great.

  • Debglass11
    Jan 3, 2020

    Made this for New Year's Day and it was a hit. Absolutely delicious! I omitted the pork belly, since I didn't have any on hand.....and since I had one in the freezer, I opted for a ham shank with meat still on the bone instead of the ham hocks. Kept everything else the same. This was a rich and flavorful dish and perfect for ushering in 2020! Will definitely keep this one handy!

  • cookshale
    Jan 1, 2014

    Loved them. My family ate them in 30 minutes. Gone

  • shirleysmith1949
    Jan 4, 2012

    The thyme in this recipe was overpowering even though I measured it very carefully. My family, who usually loves the black eyed peas I make for New Years were very disappointed. I think we'll go back to the way my mother made them years ago.