There are a few foods that really define the south; and field peas are the epitome that good southern food. They’re found in many southern recipes, and proliferate the history of the south. They have a cultural history of being the “poor man’s” food- much like rice to the peasants in China. The rich wouldn’t have eaten many back in the day, but now they know exactly what they missed out on.
There are a ton of other recipes out there, but no body makes good fresh field peas like my mother does. I’ve carried down her recipe with me and I want you to pet cha hands on it to see exactly what good southern food is, and some of our favorite types of peas in this good recipe that takes very little preparation and very little attention- the delectable and fast cooking fresh field peas do all the work for you while you sit back and relax after your hard day’s labor.
Fresh-Field Peas with Okra
Total Cook Time:45 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
2 lbs. field peas (called fresh peas to those not from the South)
1 cup of okra
1/2 center cut ham steak
3 slices of fat back
2 cups water
1 tsp each kosher salt and cracked pepper
2 tbs. crushed garlic (optional)
Fresh or dried thyme (optional)
Sliced/Diced onion (optional)
Here’s how to prepare one of the best simple recipes, just like my mother made it:
- Get your stove started heating on medium, and place a five quart saucepan down on whatever burner you decided to start heating; and then, gently add your peas to the five quart saucepan.
- Add in the two cups of water you’ve measured out, and pour it in, being careful not to slosh any water out of the pan. Add salt and pepper, your pieces of fat back, and garlic, thyme and onion if you please, then put a lid on your saucepan.
- Start cutting up your ham steak however you want it, but we recommend big meaty chunks. At this time, cut up 1 cup of okra into whatever sized wheels you want, and add the ham chunks to the saucepan. Put the lid back on, and go watch your favorite sitcom or read a book or bird watch or something; and come back in 30 minutes. When you come back, add the okra pinwheels and cook it for another 15 minutes.
Dig right in and make sure you get a little piece of everything- see how tender and juicy the ham is and how it just melts in your mouth. You’ll absolutely love the texture of the okra, the juicy tender peas that taste like quality southern soil, and the amazing flavor that we’ve created with all the delicious flavors- we Southerners call it pot liquor- brings all the amazing flavor you need to get you going and fill your belly. Don’t be afraid to cook these beauties another 30 minutes on a simmer to draw out the broth’s flavor; maybe even serve it with some cornbread on the side to make sure you get a chance to sop it all up and enjoy every little bit.
Dig in, enjoy this delicious, easy, and all natural meal or side dish today with your family. Put cha hands on it!