Making a quick judgment based on the way something looks or sounds is often not wise. Maybe that is why the saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” holds so much meaning. So if I say that I love cowpeas, do you immediately think it sounds gross because you have visions of “cow” peas?

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

Cooking is a peaceful and creative activity for me. Being the person that provides sustenance for the family in an enjoyable way helps to make me feel valuable in my role as a mother, sister, aunt and daughter.

I cook healthy meals most of the time, but there are a few ingredients that I just can’t give up which can be found in recipes passed down through the ages in my Southern family. Cowpeas, also known as black eyed peas are one of those meals that is very simple to cook, delicious to eat, keeps the pangs of hunger away for quite a while and has one not so healthy ingredient.

Black eyed peas or cowpeas depending on your preference are white skinned, kidney shaped beans with a small black eye and very fine wrinkles. They can be cooked down to a creamy consistency or with less cooking time can be left firm in their thin skin. They are often cooked on New Year’s Day to add “luck,” so here’s to having all the luck I can get…

Black Eyed Peas

Start by filling a pot with water and turn up
the temperature so that the water boils.

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

Purchase 2 lbs. of dried black eyed peas.

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

Throw away all dark colored beans or small rocks.
Yes, sometimes there are small rocks in a bag of dried beans.
Add all the black eyed peas to the water.

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

Boil for 10 minutes and cover.

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

Let sit for 60 minutes.
During the waiting time, cook 1 lb. bacon and retain the drippings.

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

After an hour,
drain the water from the beans by using a colander.
Depending on where you live, “colander” is pronounced either
“co-land-er” or “col-an-der.”
I won’t even argue with you if you say it wrong (wink.)

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

Once drained, pour the beans back into the original pot
and add water to about 2 inches above the beans.

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

“Life is like an onion:
You peel it off
one layer at a time,
and sometimes you weep.”

Dice about 2 cups of onions and add to beans.

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

Add about 2 tablespoons of salt.

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

Add about 1 tablespoon of pepper.

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

Unhealthy ingredient alert: Add the drippings from 1 lb. of cooked bacon.
Reserve cooked bacon for later.
My grandmothers used fat back or salt pork.
Yummy artery cloggers!

Bring all ingredients to a boil and then cut heat back
to a slow simmer.
Cook until beans are tender.
Simmer long enough that the liquid cooks down and thickens.

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

Fill bowls with black eyed peas and
add the crunchy cooked bacon pieces on top.

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

Enjoy every bite.

Cowpeas are Black eyed peas

I also add pickled jalapeno slices to my bowl.
It makes the beans hot and truly unforgettable!

Are you back in the “cow” peas state of mind and ready to forget ever trying this bean?

Tsk, Tsk. You just don’t know what you are missing.

So to Mama Minnie, Mama Nell, Mam-Maw and the only living person of the bunch, Mom…Thank you for your loving hands that prepared innumerable meals for your families of which I am blessed to be able to count myself as a member, namely as your great grand daughter, grand daughter and daughter. These women have provided a beautiful legacy of love with their cooking!

I wonder if Mama Minnie ever felt lonely and unappreciated while standing over the hot wood stove cooking for her family on the farm? Do you equate cooking as a loving service for your family and friends? Do you ever feel that no one realizes the efforts you make to prepare delicious meals for them?

The Redhead Riter

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 EmptyNester November 17, 2010 at 1:55 am

We know cow peas very well…and my grandmother used fat back! We have the traditional Hoppin' Jon with collards and cornbread every New Year's Day! Without fail. Gotta love that southern cooking!

And yes, there were times when I felt unappreciated and more like a cook and maid. But not very often.


2 Jayne D November 17, 2010 at 1:56 am

This looks great! You really can't go wrong with anything that contains bacon!


3 Jayne D November 17, 2010 at 1:56 am

This looks yummy! You really can't go wrong with anything that contains bacon!


4 Suzie November 17, 2010 at 2:13 am



5 Tyla November 17, 2010 at 2:27 am

Though I don't eat them often, I do like them. And my family MUST eat them on New Year's Day (with a little hog jowl) for good luck in the new year. lol


6 Marlene November 17, 2010 at 5:01 am

Yum-O! I love black eyed peas. The smell of them cooking reminds me of being at grandma's house. 🙂


7 Momma J November 17, 2010 at 12:55 pm

That looks delicious! I haven't had them in years, because I am the only one who eats them, so there isn't a real reason for me to make them. Have some for me 🙂


8 Teresha@Marlie and Me November 17, 2010 at 1:28 pm

yum, yum, yum,! I usually only get to eat black-eyed peas at new year with some collard greens for luck and prosperity


9 Lori November 17, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Ummm! Black eyed peas, love em!


10 Joy November 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I have never had them but that recipe looks delicious! While I have heard black-eyes peas, I have never heard them called cow peas!


11 katlupe November 17, 2010 at 11:54 pm

I love them too! Your recipe looks good, especially the bacon on top.


12 Shawn Becker November 18, 2010 at 1:44 am

That looks wonderful and I can not wait to try the recipe. i love the idea of the crispy bacon on top and all the yummy drippings in the pot!



13 Metro DC Mom November 18, 2010 at 4:39 am

OMGoodness! It's nearly midnight and it's all I can do not to go upstairs and make those cowpeas Yum!


14 Holly November 18, 2010 at 11:54 am

I love beans!! I've never heard of black eyed peas being called cow peas before. Learn something new EVERY DAY!! This looks YUMMY and now I HAVE to try them this way!! Thanks for sharing and your family is LUCKY to have such a great cook providing for them!! ;D


15 Our Banana Moments May 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I love this recipe and your great pics. I featured this post on my Kitchen Bananas blog.



16 Bev September 24, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Taking these and some cornbread to the family reunion also..yummy!


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