Super simple, but big on flavor, Zipper peas are an irresistible Southern classic side dish. Full of summery goodness, zipper peas, sometimes called cream peas, are just one type of Southern pea often referred to as cowpeas or field peas.
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: How to cook Southern peas, cowpeas, field peas
Add the salt pork to a medium-size saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook the pork for about five minutes or until it is just starting to brown. Stir frequently.
Add the onions and continue cooking and stirring for another six minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add the peas, kosher salt, black pepper, and three cups of chicken stock. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let them simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
Stir occasionally and, if foam appears, use a slotted spoon to skim it off and discard.
After 20 minutes, taste for doneness and for seasonings. The fresher and smaller they are, the less time it will take for them to cook. They should be tender, but not mushy. If there is still any crunch to them, cook a few minutes longer. Add more salt or pepper if you think they need it.
I used salt pork in this recipe, which is found close to the ham in grocery stores. You can also use leftover ham, smoked ham hocks, bacon, or a smoked pork chop. If you don't want to use pork, you can substitute a package of dry, ham flavored concentrate by Goya. You can find it in the Mexican food section of your grocery store.Because I had it on hand, I used homemade chicken stock in this dish, but you can use whatever stock you have or even water.Fresh herbs like thyme or parsley can be added for an additional pop of flavor.Fresh peas are always best, but depending on where you live, you might not be able to find them. If not, you might be able to find frozen ones. If so, you can use this same recipe as written. I don't recommend canned peas for anything but maybe a hummus recipe.If you have blanched your peas and they are frozen, you don't have to defrost them. Just add them to the pan frozen. It may take a few minutes more to start boiling, but it will be fine.If you are lucky enough to find fresh Southern peas, you might want to consider buying a bushel and freezing them. You will thank me next winter when you are craving some.