For some reason I have never had this classic Southern dish and so thought I would try it this year. I had gotten the recipe after reading A Year of Crockpotting and reading some of the comments on her first trial of black eyed peas. Anyway the recipe I sort-of used is right here.
I say sort-of because I added way too much cayenne. The recipe called for 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and since I couldn't find that I used ground red pepper.
A little over 3/4 of a teaspoon.
I should have used 1/4 teaspoon.
Even my pepper-belly hubby said it was hot.
I read that lemon could cool down the heat and so I added that. It wasn't enough.
I added 2 bell peppers, and an extra 1/2 cup of rice, and heavy cream and it was still a little warm.
I do want to try it again though, using the right amount of cayenne.
I also changed the recipe so that I could use the crockpot. Here is my recipe (and what I am going to do next time is all italics. The last 3 things are all about fixing the pepper and really not necessary.)
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 smoked ham hock (those are sooo gross looking)
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes OR 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper only add heaping 3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper if you want to set your mouth on fire
1 teaspoon salt
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained oops, just read that it was supposed to be drained. Oh well, I needed to add other stuff anyway.
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice I bulked it up with extra rice (2 cups total), however it seemed too much rice so I will go back to the recommended amount
2 bell peppers, chopped
about 1 tablespoon powdered garlic I didn't measure
about 2 ounces of lemon juice (to counteract the pepper)
1/2 cup of heavy cream (to counteract the pepper)
1/2 cup of sugar (both to counteract the lemon and the cayenne)
Pick all the rocks and bad peas out, then wash and soak them over night.
The day you want to eat this, eat some oil in a pretty good sized pot and brown the ham hock (may not be necessary but I did it).
Then add the onion and let it cook until softened. Then into the pot went 6 cups of water, and the black pepper, red pepper, garlic powder and salt and bring it to a boil.
Let it boil for about 10 minutes and then dump it into a crock pot (you can cook it stove top but I am less likely to scorch it in the crock pot).
Add the peas and bell pepper and cook until nearly tender . . . I have no idea how long. Kind-of depends on how tender you want them. Since you can choose low or high . . . and I really don't know how log for either of them . . . .
When the peas are tender-ish, pour in the tomatoes -- you could drain them but I honestly don't know if I would or not. I looooooooove tomatoes. The more tomatoes the better.
And while you are stirring in the lovely tomatoes add the rice, reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 20ish minutes (or until the rice isn't crunchy).
The final directions to the original recipe reads "Turn off heat, and allow Hoppin' John to steam in pot, lid on, for 5 minutes. Serve." Since that sort-of describes crockpot cooking, I just skip that part.
Yield: 6 servings.
There you have it. The flavor I could get through the flames on my tongue and throat was good before the lemon and the sugar (it was good after but I liked it better before . . . except the heat . . . if that makes sense). The cream was a lovely rich addition but makes me a bit nervous because of the tendency for milk to curdle in the presence of acids (like tomatoes or lemon.)
Because I feel like I need to redeem myself as a decent cook, I will let you know later about the cornbread I made to go with the meal.
No weird ingredients.
And met the approval of people who don't need to eat gluten free -- including my mother-in-law who is a picky eater. She might deny that she is a picky eater but she is. That's why I also had them bring cornbread - in case mine didn't turn out well.
But. It. Rocked.