Full of flavor and easy to prepare, fresh purple hull peas are a staple in the South and a treasured find at summer farmers' markets. This easy and versatile recipe works its magic in minutes and transforms these tasty morsels into a guaranteed crowd-pleasing side dish.
Add olive oil to a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the pan is hot, add the onion and cook for about six minutes or until it is tender and translucent.
Add the peas, the ham hock, salt, pepper, and chicken stock. Add water if necessary to make sure the peas are covered by at least an inch of liquid. Turn the heat up to medium-high until the liquid comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes.
Start tasting the peas at about 15 minutes to check for seasoning and to see if they are tender. The smaller and fresher they are, the less time they will need to cook.
Once done, remove and discard the ham hock and serve immediately.
If you have leftovers, use them to make hummus or add them to salads, soups, and stews. You can also store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to four days.All of my Southern pea recipes are interchangeable. In other words, you can use this recipe for Purple Hulls for White Acres and vice versa.This recipe calls for a smoked ham hock. Suitable substitutes are salt pork, pork belly, bacon, smoked pork chops, and leftover ham.If you are lucky enough to have it, you can substitute bacon grease for the olive oil.If you are freezing fresh peas, they need to be blanched first. To blanch them, add them to boiling water for two minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove and immediately place them in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.Drain and store them in plastic freezer bags for up to six months.To save time, I frequently use frozen chopped onions in recipes like this.If you are using frozen peas, you can add them to the pan without first defrosting.If they are dried, they need to be reconstituted by soaking them in room temperature water for several hours or overnight. They will also take a little longer to cook.You might notice that a foam develops while your peas are cooking. You can either skim it off or leave it as it will dissipate before they are done.You can make this recipe up to 48 hours ahead. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to reheat. It does reheat well with no loss in quality.