I was shelling our black-eyed peas while sipping on a quart jar of tea the other day and the irony of that whole scene was a bit comical. I live deep in the heart of Texas but I most definitely do not fit the bill of a southern woman… even when surrounded by tea and black-eyed peas.
Even with my Minnesotan roots showing, I am falling in love with these southern peas. For one, they grow really well here despite the clay soil, drought, heat, and other beatings a plant can take. For weeks now we have been eating them pretty much every day in one form or another. They work well as a green bean at the younger stage. Just pick and snap as you would any other green bean.
After that stage is through you have what I think is a true delicacy – freshly shelled green black-eyed peas. These guys jump free of their pods when snapped and strung. They are just beginning to take on a bit of creaminess but still have that fresh vegetable bite. And they’re only like that for a very short while so, for a few weeks this year, I’m shelling as many as I can to eat fresh while dehydrating the rest for winter meals.
I tend to mix them with the snapped beans, simply because we often have little pickers who pick at all stages, despite my pleadings. And so I combine them – the snaps and the peas – with all sorts of meats, vegetables, and grains for a daily feast. This particular dish is certainly more celebratory than every day, but when you’ve got fresh black-eyed peas from your garden and fresh pork from a neighbor, who are you to say no?
And so, a skillet of seared pork chops combines with fried onion and black-eyed pea gravy for the perfect celebratory summer meal.
Course: Main Course
- 1⁄4 cup lard or coconut oil, (less if using fatty chops)
- 2-3 lb bone-in pork chops (1” thick)
- 2 medium onions sliced
- 3 cups black-eyed peas fresh shelled or snapped
- 2 cups water
- Salt pepper, garlic powder for seasoning
- 1⁄4 cup flour (all-purpose or rice flour for GF)
- Heat 12” cast-iron skillet over high heat and add lard or coconut oil. Once very hot, carefully place chops in the pan. You may have to do this in two batches, just don’t crowd the pan too much. Sear the chops for 3-5 minutes or until deeply golden brown. Flip, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder; and sear other side for 3-5 more minutes. Remove to a platter and repeat with any remaining chops.
- Once all chops have seared and are moved to a platter, turn heat down to medium and add onions and any fat if needed. Season with a sprinkle of sea salt. Fry onions for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown and beginning to soften.
- Add beans and water to pan. Bring to a simmer and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape off any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the pork chops to the pan, placing them carefully atop the vegetables. Cover pan and simmer 10 minutes, or until chops are cooked through.
- Move chops to a clean platter. Sprinkle the flour over the beans and sauce and stir it in. Cook for several minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened to your liking. Taste gravy and season with additional salt, pepper, and garlic powder as needed. Spoon black-eyed pea and onion gravy over chops.
- Serve alongside a fresh garden salad or fresh sliced vegetables.