Much of my youth was spent on my grandparent’s farm in the American South. Because of my magical summers there, the South and its food (naturally!) hold a dear place in my heart. Food-wise purple hull peas rank pretty high on my “Favorites from the South” Food List. A bean, you say? What about Shrimp and Grits, Fried Green Tomatoes, fried chicken, BBQ?! And wait, isn’t this a post on black-eyed peas? Sure, a bean may not stand a chance when Shrimp and Grits or Fried enters the room, unless maybe it’s a fried bean (stay tuned…), but a purple hull pea isn’t an ordinary bean. This bean packs a lot of punch for such a little guy. Like his cousin Black-eyed Pea, both from the cowpea family, he has a characteristic dark “eye.” But Purple Hull Pea is the sexy, yet sophisticated, meaty, yet complex standout of the Cowpea family (and his cousin is one pretty special dude). The problem with this hunk of a bean is that he’s an elusive fellow throughout most of the U.S. and the world (I’ve been known to take cans back with me on the plane. Now that’s love, especially given the weight restrictions on airlines these days). Enter: Black-eyed Pea, a nifty bean and a standout (and delicious stand-in) when his cousin isn’t around (no more personifying beans. I promise).
This tasty side is a medley of black-eyed peas, green beans, and bacon. Yup, Bacon enters the picture (sorry). Black-eyed peas are eaten on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck for the coming year, a lovely tradition. Maybe next year I will harken in the New Year with a big bowl of these beans? This is one tasty side that’s certainly hearty enough to be a main and it’s healthy too (well, not the bacon part, but the beans are pretty darn healthy). Try them. You might like them so much you start a new NYE tradition. Cheers and bon chance!