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Texas Caviar

Cookbook

Texas Home Cooking

Published by Harvard Common Press

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Along with the pinto bean, the black-eyed pea is Texas’s most-loved legume. Helen Corbitt, the mother of modern Texas cooking, prepared them like this. Her famous recipe didn’t call for bell pepper, but green pepper and jalapeño are common additions today. Some fancy-food eaters think of black-eyed peas as Southern backwoods fare. In truth they are a global delicacy, first cultivated in Asia eons ago. African slaves brought seeds to the New World in 1674 and the little pearls spread in a snap throughout the South.

Serves4 to 6

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Recipe CourseAppetizer, Side Dish

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Halal, Kosher, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free

MealDinner

Taste and TextureGarlicky, Savory, Tangy

Type of DishSalad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried or frozen black-eyed peas
  • 6 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • ¾ cup corn oil, preferably unrefined
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar, preferably unrefined
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion (such as texas 1015, vidalia, or walla walla) or ¼ cup regular onion
  • 2 roasted garlic cloves (see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or more, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, cover the peas by at least 1 inch with stock. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook the peas until they are tender, anywhere from 45 minutes to 1½ hours depending on your peas. (Frozen peas generally cook faster.) Stir occasionally, and add more stock or water if the peas begin to seem dry before they are done.

  2. Drain the peas. In a large bowl, toss them together with the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate the peas, covered, at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. The peas get tastier over several days. Serve the peas chilled.

Roasted Garlic

Most of our recipes containing garlic call for it fresh, except in dry mixes. Sometimes we suggest roasting the fresh garlic, to sweeten and mellow its taste. To do this, place individual doves, with skins on, in a heavy skillet over low heat, and turn them until the skins darken on all sides and the cloves soften.

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