What a Crock: Spicy Black-Eyed Peas

Nothing says Happy New Year's like a bowl of black-eyed peas, and there's not a better way to prepare them than in a crock pot.

The run down Before you roll your eyes and completely dismiss eating black-eyed peas this holiday season, take a gander at this recipe. It's got a little something for all the various palates out there, and if you're going to stick with tradition, this recipe is definitely the way to go.

The taste Sorry vegetarians, at first glance, this one is just not for you. That doesn't mean that it can't be tailored a bit, but on paper, this one is for the meat lovers. The saltiness from the high portions of ham and bacon is a perfect complement to the jalapeno and cayenne's spiciness. When something slow cooks for eight hours, count on all the ingredients to be soft and well-incorporated--the peas, bell pepper, and onions were all very flavorful and had that perfect crock pot bite. The recipe is a winner.

The ease Super easy! Just chop the onions, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeno--set aside. Next, dice some ham and cut some bacon strips into smaller pieces. Brown the bacon and drain oil. Give your black-eyed peas a good rinse under some cold water and dump into the crock pot. Add all the ingredients into the pot, set on low for eight hours and just walk away.

The tips I used Canadian bacon instead of regular ham--no particular reason, I just felt like it. I diced the bacon into fairly small pieces. You don't want it to overwhelm the peas with each bite. Chop up another jalapeno if you're looking to increase the spiciness. Instead of the chicken bouillon cube, I added four cups of water (not six), along with two cups of chicken broth. It's the same premise and just a tad easier. If you are a vegetarian, you know the drill, just remove all the meat and see how it turns out. I'm guessing it will still be tasty.

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Kevin Shalin
Contact: Kevin Shalin