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Fend off the chilly evenings with this slow cooked meal. Slow cooker peas and smoked sausage are also a great way to ring in the new year.
Being a parent is a lot about changing your expectations. Rolling with the punches. Trying to figure out what this week’s rejected food is. Planning a Halloween costume in this era of the short attention span. Most of the time the only thing you can do is shrug your shoulders and say, Kids, man.
We were surprised recently by the appearance of purple hull peas in our Local Box. Normally these fresh peas are abundant in the summertime, but our growing season has been whack, yo.
Purple hull peas kind of throw me for a loop, since I’m not a native Southerner and had never cooked with them before.
Since it has been so rainy lately, I knew the best thing to do: Throw ’em in the slow cooker.
This dish is perfect for cold, wet nights, but it’s also a hands-off way to ring in the new year.
Black-eyed peas are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day in the South as a way to bring luck and prosperity to the year. They’re often served with sausage or ham plus hearty greens, and it makes for a wonderful filling meal!
what kind of peas should I use?
For this recipe we aren’t using green peas, so don’t get confused!
Purple hull peas are beans similar to black-eyed peas, except they have a purplish dot, and gorgeous pods. They are not usually found in the winter but they freeze well, so I do recommend saving a bag in the summer if you can.
Black-eyed peas work perfectly in this recipe. They have an earthy flavor, but one that is very accessible to all palates.
If you don’t have either (and aren’t making this dish for New Year’s luck) you can use cranberry beans or even pinto beans, though pinto beans are a bit sweeter in flavor.
If you’re using dried beans, be sure to soak them for at least 2 hours, or overnight, before cooking.
what kind of smoked sausage should I use?
Kielbasa, a traditional Polish smoked sausage, is perfect for this dish, though a spicy andouille would also be excellent.
Kielbasa itself does many varieties. Pork is what we most often use, but there are also kinds made with beef or turkey.
We use this sausage because it is already cooked, which makes it easy to slice and add to a variety of dishes. Choose whatever variety your family likes best!
can I add greens to this dish?
I try to add green veggies to every dinner and this recipe is perfect for hearty, leafy greens.
You’ll want the sturdier stuff here, such as collards, kale, mustard greens, or Swiss chard leaves.
Strip the leaves from their stems, stack them, and slice into ribbons. I add them during the last hour of cooking. They’ll wilt beautifully, so don’t be afraid to use an entire bunch or more!
I serve slow cooker peas and smoked sausage over rice or alongside cornbread or biscuits.
Slow Cooker Peas and Smoked Sausage
- 2 cups fresh purple hull peas or canned black-eyed peas
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 12 ounces smoked sausage or kielbasa, sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced, or 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bunch kale, collards, or Swiss chard, optional
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Add all ingredients except greens and salt and pepper to slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
- If using greens, during the last hour of cooking strip leaves from stems, discard stems, and chop leaves. Add to pot and let wilt.
- Season to taste before serving (depending on what kind of broth and sausage you use, the amount of salt and pepper needed will vary). Serve over rice, if desired.