Have you ever tried making Black Eyed Peas? In this article, I’ll guide you through the process of cooking black-eyed peas on the stovetop, in the Instant Pot, and in the slow cooker. With these helpful tips and tricks, you’ll be able to prepare perfectly cooked beans every time.
Black-eyed peas are not only delicious but also incredibly nutritious. They belong to the legume family, alongside beans and lentils. These creamy, pale peas have a distinctive black “eye” in the middle and a mild taste similar to black beans. Despite their name, black-eyed peas are not actually peas but a variety of cowpea. They are also known as “goat peas” or “southern peas.”
Originating in North Africa, black-eyed peas have long been a staple in diets and were brought to North America by enslaved people from Africa. It’s a traditional custom to cook black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day as they are believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the year ahead.
When it comes to nutritional value, black-eyed peas are powerhouses. They are packed with plant-based protein and dietary fiber. In fact, a one-cup serving of black-eyed peas offers 13 grams of protein and 11 grams of dietary fiber. Additionally, they provide essential vitamins such as folate, copper, iron, magnesium, and thiamine.
Now, let’s dive into the different cooking techniques for black-eyed peas.
Cooking Techniques for Black Eyed Peas
The stovetop method is the most straightforward way to cook black-eyed peas. It allows you to keep a close eye on the beans and achieve your desired level of tenderness. If you’re making a salad, you may prefer a more “al dente” texture, whereas for soups or veggie burgers, you might want them softer.
If you have pre-soaked beans, they will be ready in about 45 minutes on the stovetop. Unsoaked beans take a bit longer, but not significantly so. Alternatively, you can use the “quick hot soak” method by boiling the beans for 10 minutes, letting them stand for 30-60 minutes, and then rinsing them before cooking.
To cook black-eyed peas on the stovetop, simply place them in a pot and cover them with plenty of water (usually one part beans to four parts water). Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the peas are tender.
Instant Pot Method
Using an Instant Pot can save you a lot of time when cooking black-eyed peas. However, unlike the stovetop method, you can’t check the beans’ tenderness during the cooking process. Through several trials, I’ve found the ideal cooking time for unsoaked black-eyed peas in the Instant Pot.
For one cup of dried black-eyed peas, rinsed but not soaked, combine with three cups of cold tap water. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, followed by a 10-minute natural release. This will yield perfectly cooked peas that are soft but not overly so. Keep in mind that other factors such as bean age and water hardness can affect cooking time.
Slow Cooker Method
Although the Instant Pot is faster, the slow cooker offers the convenience of a “set it and forget it” approach. To cook black-eyed peas in a slow cooker, use the same ratio of one part peas to four parts water. Set the slow cooker to high heat for about 3 hours or low heat for approximately 6 hours. Cooking times may vary, but with this method, you can periodically check the tenderness of the beans.
Tips for Perfectly Cooked Black Eyed Peas
While the Instant Pot and slow cooker methods are convenient, if you want absolute control over the cooking process, stovetop cooking is recommended. This way, you can monitor the beans and remove them from heat as soon as they reach your desired consistency.
After preparing a big batch of black-eyed peas, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you want to freeze them for longer storage, portion them into freezer bags, remove any air, label them, and store them in the freezer. Frozen black-eyed peas can stay good for about 3 months.
Black-eyed peas are versatile and can be used in various dishes. They can be added to soups, stews, salads, or simply enjoyed tossed with olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes. Another option is to simmer them with garlic, onions, and black pepper to create a flavorful vegetable broth.
For more recipe ideas, you can try the Simple Texas Caviar Recipe from The Full Helping or the Vegan Hoppin’ John recipe from Connoisseurus Veg.
So, whether you’re cooking black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day or simply to enjoy a nutritious and delicious meal, you now have all the tips and techniques you need to prepare perfectly cooked beans every time. Happy cooking!