With their sweet flavor and creaminess, lady peas are a common summertime side dish in the South. These peas have an off-white color, similar to black-eyed peas, but without the "black-eyes." Traditionally, they are boiled with freshly made pork stock and served as a side or over rice. Braising them slowly is another option to infuse them with an intense amount of flavor. They can be hard to find outside of the South, but check with specialty grocery stores selling packaged or frozen peas, or order them online.
Things You'll Need
- Dice onions or shallots
- Additional seasonings, optional
Boiled Lady Peas
Wash the shelled lady peas in cold water, discarding any that look damaged or dull. Fresh peas should look shiny and firm.
Place the lady peas in a large pot and add enough pork stock to cover them by at least 1 to 2 inches. Pork stock is traditional with lady peas in the South, but you can always use chicken stock if you don't have any prepared pork stock available.
Bring the pot to a low boil over medium heat. The peas will start to give off foam as they boil. Skim the foam off with a slotted spoon.
Reduce the heat to low when the lady peas stop foaming and let them simmer in the pot, covered for about 30 minutes, until they are fork tender, but not mushy. Stir the peas occasionally.
Stir in diced onions or scallions if you prefer to add flavor, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl, adding enough of the stock to just moisten them. Serve hot.
Braised Lady Peas
Coat a large, deep skillet with olive oil and place over medium-high heat on the stove,
Add diced onions and shallots to the pan to cook, stirring frequently until they are translucent. You can also opt to add chopped prosciutto or bacon at this point, to add more flavor
Add the washed lady peas to the pot along with enough water to just cover them. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. Allow the peas to cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, about 30 minutes.
Season the peas with salt, pepper and any other seasonings you prefer, including garlic powder and fresh herbs. Let the peas cook covered for another 20 minutes.
Turn the heat up to a medium-low and cook for another 10 minutes, uncovered to allow most of the liquid to evaporate before transferring the peas to a serving bowl.
Tips & Warnings
- Although you can find lady peas pre-shelled or frozen, they're easy to remove from their pods though it is time-consuming. Grab a stringy fiber along the seam of a pod and pull it down along its length, which will open the pod. Run your thumb down the inside of the pod to release the peas.
- Southern Living: Guide to Summer-Fresh Field Peas
- The Gift of Southern Cooking; Edna Lewis et al.,
- Andalusia Star News: Honey Can You Pass the Peas, Please?
- Saveur: Peas Braised with Dill and Onions
- The Christian Science Monitor: Butter-braised Lady Peas and Buttermilk Hoe Cakes
- Fine Cooking: Peas from the Pod
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images