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Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens

This is easily on the top 5, if not the top 3 most beloved southern comfort foods.

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Southern Comfort is a delicious theme, one rich in flavor and tradition. Southern Comfort food includes essential classics like this dish here, Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens. Earthy and hearty collard greens are slow-cooked with black-eyed peas and a generous amount of bacon to become the ultimate Southern comfort food.

Black-eyed peas and collard greens are a rustic dish, a once humble meal that now enjoys an almost mythic status in the lore of southern cuisine. While the ingredients are fundamentally the same, variations on just how to prepare the dish are what keep the rich tradition of this dish alive and well.

I’m already drooling before I’ve even started!

Collard greens, black-eyed peas (known for their distinctive black “iris”), and bacon are the foundation pieces of the dish. We all know that one can never go wrong by adding bacon to just about anything and everything. In this dish, the bacon adds flavor but also renders fat to infuse the collard greens with flavor and tenderize the sturdy, fibrous leaves, as well. Onions, chili flakes, and garlic round out the flavor profile and cook slowly, until savory, tender, and delicious.

I like to finish this dish with some freshness and heat by adding lemon juice, zest, and a dash (or two or three or more) of my favorite hot sauce. The bacon I cooked and removed, leaving its fat renderings, makes a triumphant return as a final garnish over top of the dark leafy greens. Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens is one of southern comfort food’s most beloved dishes, celebrated for its richness of flavor and and familiarity. It’s suitable for a simple meal at home as it is on the menu of an elevated restaurant.

Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens are best enjoyed with Brined and Fried Chicken, Southern-Style Mac and Cheese, Hot Pepper Cornbread and Honey Butter, and Grilled Peaches and Ice Cream.

Yield(s): Serves 6

15m prep time

45m cook time

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  • 1 bunch collard greens, stems stripped and leaves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 oz. thick - cut bacon, diced
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed chili flake
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 28 oz. cans black eyed peas, drained
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced & 1 teaspoon zest
  • *optional hot sauce*
  • Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  1. Rinse collard greens in a large bowl of cold water and let the dirt set toward the bottom. Skim leaves from the top of the water into a colander. Don’t pour water into the colander. Separate the leaves from the stems. Keep the stems and chop them into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.
  2. Blend 1 cup of black eyed peas using a hand blender or food processor with 2 - 3 tablespoons of water. Pour puree over remaining peas.
  3. In a large sauce pot over medium heat, add bacon and cook until bacon is crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve on a paper towel lined plate.
  4. Add olive oil, onion, garlic and chili flakes to the pot with bacon fat. Cook veg for 4 - 6 minutes or until garlic starts to brown.
  5. Add broth and black eyed peas then bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the collard green stems to the beans. Let them cook for 3 - 4 minutes before adding remaining collard greens leaves.
  7. Cook greens in bean broth until they turn a bright green. Finish with lemon juice, zest, and optional hot sauce. Garnish with the crispy bacon and enjoy!