How to Cook Black Eyed Peas in a Slow Cooker: A Flavorful and Nutritious Recipe for Traditional Southern Cuisine

How to Cook Black Eyed Peas in a Slow Cooker?

To cook black-eyed peas in a slow cooker, start by sorting and washing the beans to remove any debris.

Soaking the beans is optional.

Add the beans to the slow cooker with two inches of water or broth.

You can also add seasonings and aromatics of your choice.

If you pre-soaked the beans, cook them on low heat for 3 to 4 hours.

If you didn’t soak them, cook for 5 to 6 hours on low heat.

You can store dried black-eyed peas in an airtight container for up to a year, and cooked ones can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.

Remember to share your experience with the recipe in the comment section below.

Key Points:

  • Sort and wash the black-eyed peas to remove debris
  • Soaking the beans before cooking is optional
  • Add beans, water or broth, and seasonings to the slow cooker
  • If pre-soaked, cook on low heat for 3 to 4 hours
  • If not soaked, cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours
  • Store dried peas for up to a year, cooked peas for 3 to 4 days

Did You Know?

1. The black-eyed pea is not actually a pea, but a type of bean commonly used in Southern cuisine.

2. Black-eyed peas are believed to have originated in West Africa and were brought to the United States by African slaves during the era of the transatlantic slave trade.

3. In some cultures, particularly in the Southern United States, it is considered lucky to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day as it is believed to bring good fortune and prosperity for the year ahead.

4. Black-eyed peas are a nutritional powerhouse, containing high levels of fiber, protein, potassium, and folate, making them an excellent addition to a balanced diet.

5. While traditionally cooked on stovetops, using a slow cooker to prepare black-eyed peas can yield a richer and more flavorful dish, as the slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together over a longer period of time.

1. Sorting And Washing The Beans

When cooking black-eyed peas in a slow cooker, it is important to start by sorting and washing the beans. This initial step helps eliminate any debris or impurities that may have been included during packaging or storage. To sort the beans, spread them out on a clean surface and remove any small stones, dirt, or damaged beans.

After sorting, the beans should be thoroughly rinsed. Place them in a colander and run cold water over them, gently rubbing them between your fingers to remove any remaining dirt or dust. This process not only ensures the beans are clean, but it also helps remove excess starch, which can lead to a mushy texture when cooked.

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  • Sorting and washing black-eyed peas is crucial before cooking.
  • Spread the beans out on a clean surface and remove any debris.
  • Rinse them in a colander under cold water, rubbing gently.
  • Washing helps remove excess starch and ensures cleanliness.

2. Soaking The Beans (Optional)

Soaking black-eyed peas before cooking is an optional step that some people choose to do, while others prefer to skip it. Soaking the beans can help to reduce their cooking time and make them more tender.

Here’s how to soak black-eyed peas before cooking:

  • Sort and wash the beans to remove any impurities.
  • Place the beans in a large bowl and cover them with water. Ensure that there is enough water to cover the beans by a few inches as they will absorb some of it.
  • Allow the beans to soak overnight, or for at least 6-8 hours. This overnight soak helps to soften the beans and reduce their cooking time.
  • After soaking, drain and rinse the beans once again before proceeding with the recipe. This removes any residual dirt or debris and ensures that you are starting with clean beans.

To summarize:

  • Sort and wash the beans.
  • Soak the beans in water overnight (or for at least 6-8 hours).
  • Drain and rinse the beans before using them in your recipe.

3. Cooking Pre-Soaked Beans

If you have chosen to soak the black-eyed peas before cooking, here’s how to proceed. In a slow cooker, add the pre-soaked beans along with two inches of water or broth. This liquid will help to keep the beans moist and prevent them from drying out during the long cooking process.

Next, it’s time to add some flavor to the beans. You can add seasonings and aromatics like chopped vegetables (such as bell peppers, jalapeños, and onions) to enhance the taste of your black-eyed peas. You can also add vinegar for a tangy kick, olive oil for richness, and optional chopped bacon or ham for an added savory flavor.

Once all the ingredients are in the slow cooker, cover it and set it to cook on low heat for around 3 to 4 hours. Check the beans occasionally to ensure they are still submerged in the liquid and adjust the heat as necessary. You’ll know the beans are done when they are tender and easily mashable with a fork.

4. Cooking Un-Soaked Beans

If you prefer to skip the soaking step, you can still achieve delicious black-eyed peas in your slow cooker. Start by sorting and washing the beans as mentioned earlier. Then, add the un-soaked beans to the slow cooker along with two inches of water or broth.

Just like with pre-soaked beans, you can add your desired seasonings and aromatics to enhance the flavor profile. Remember to adjust the amount of liquid based on the consistency you prefer in your black-eyed peas. Cook the un-soaked beans on low heat for approximately 5 to 6 hours, or until they are tender and easy to mash with a fork.

  • Sort and wash the beans
  • Add un-soaked beans to the slow cooker with two inches of water or broth
  • Add desired seasonings and aromatics
  • Adjust liquid amount based on desired consistency
  • Cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours, until tender and easy to mash with a fork
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5. Storing And Shelf Life Of Black Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas, whether cooked or dried, can be stored and enjoyed at a later time. Dried black-eyed peas have a long shelf life and can be stored in an airtight container for up to a year. It’s best to store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to maintain their quality.

Cooked black-eyed peas can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days. Make sure to let the beans cool before transferring them to an airtight container or a covered bowl. Label the container with the date to help you keep track of their freshness.

6. Tips And Variations For Cooking Black Eyed Peas

While the basic recipe for cooking black-eyed peas in a slow cooker is delicious on its own, there are several tips and variations you can try to customize the dish to your preferences.

  • Use black-eyed peas as a base and add other ingredients such as diced tomatoes, corn, or even cooked sausage or chicken to make it a heartier meal.
  • Experiment with different seasonings and herbs to create your own unique flavor profile. Consider adding cumin, paprika, thyme, or bay leaves to enhance the taste of the black-eyed peas.
  • For added nutrition, consider adding spinach or other greens during the last 5 minutes of cooking. This not only adds vibrant color to the dish but also boosts its nutritional value.
  • If you enjoy a smoky flavor, try adding a ham bone or smoked ham hock to the slow cooker. This will infuse the black-eyed peas with a delicious smokiness, adding depth to the overall taste.
  • Don’t forget to garnish your black-eyed peas with fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro before serving. This adds a pop of freshness and visual appeal to the dish.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to soak black-eyed peas before cooking?

Yes, soaking black-eyed peas before cooking is not necessary if you are using a stovetop pressure cooker. Unlike the traditional stovetop method, the pressure cooker’s high heat and pressure can help break down the beans without the need for pre-soaking. However, keep in mind that if you choose not to soak the beans, the cooking time will be longer than if you had soaked them beforehand. Soaking helps in reducing the cooking time by softening the beans, but it is optional when using a stovetop pressure cooker.

How long does it take black-eyed peas to cook?

Black-eyed peas usually take about an hour to cook. To begin, place the beans in a pot and cover them with four inches of chicken stock. Allow them to simmer for approximately 45 minutes, ensuring to regularly check their tenderness. If needed, add more broth or water to keep them covered. For an added burst of flavor, consider including a ham bone in the cooking process.

Is 4 hours long enough to soak black-eyed peas?

Due to the nature of black-eyed peas and their hard texture, a soaking time of four hours may not be sufficient to fully rehydrate them. To ensure optimal tenderness and to enhance their flavor, it is recommended to soak black-eyed peas for at least six hours or overnight. This allows the peas to absorb enough water, resulting in a softer and more enjoyable texture when cooked. Therefore, if you have the time, it is best to stick to the recommended soaking duration to achieve the desired results.

Are black beans safe in slow cooker?

Yes, black beans are safe to cook in a slow cooker. Slow cooking allows the beans to simmer and soften, resulting in a rich and flavorful dish. By adding herbs and spices, you can enhance their taste and make them a satisfying accompaniment for any meal. So go ahead and enjoy the convenience of slow cooker black beans with the assurance of a delicious and safe outcome.