CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - The late Dr. King was quoted in the "Knoxville News-Sentinel" as saying that the dish we're about to make, black eyed peas, a classic Southern dish, was a Sunday dinner favorite in the King home when the civil-rights leader was growing up. Tinky Weisblat, Author of The Pudding Hollow Cookbook, showed us how to make one of Dr. King's favorite dishes.
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
- a small amount of extra virgin olive oil or bacon fat for sautéing
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 10-to-14 ounce can tomatoes with green chiles
- 1 to 2 ham hocks or 1 good-sized pig's knuckle
- extra smoked sausage, chopped and lightly sautéed (optional)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and sort the peas, and soak them in cold water. Ideally, they should soak overnight, but a couple of hours will do if you're in a rush!
- Drain them when they have finished soaking.
- In a 4-quart Dutch oven heat the oil or bacon fat, and use it to sauté the onion, garlic, and celery over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the beans, tomatoes, pork, stock, water, and seasonings.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to make sure it is well blended.
- Skim off as much of the bean scum as you can.
- Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the mixture for at 1 to 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until the peas are tender. (The best way to determine this is to taste them!)
- Remove the ham hock or knuckle. Tear its meat into shreds and add the meat to the pot of peas, discarding the fat and bone.
- Serve with rice and cornbread. This is best served the day after it is made.