In the winter time, I just love dried beans poured over hot buttered cornbread. It is a winter comfort food that’s a staple in our home. But to fix dried beans, it means some planning. There’s soaking to be done and some varieties can take a few hours to cook. Field peas, however, are a smaller dried legume that can be prepare pretty quickly. For best results, they still need to be soaked. For a week night meal, this is the basic no stress way I prepare and cook them. This is a favorite side dish for my Mediterranean Chicken. Click on the link to get that recipe! See the end of this post for ideas to take basic field peas to a whole new level with added flavors!
Here’s how I make them.
Dried Field Peas
As you can see here in my hand, these peas are pretty small, but they are packed full of an earthy, nutty flavor. It’s one of our favorite dried beans.
First there’s the rinsing. You want to treat any type of dried bean as a fresh vegetable and rinse before soaking.
For Paul and I, I fix a smaller portion so we won’t have to eat on them all week long. They do make great left overs, but after a couple of meals, we’re ready to move on to something new. So, for us, I rinse 1 cup of dried field peas and put them in a small 2 quart pot. This will make about 4 good servings.
Add 3 cups of water.
Now, there’s a couple of ways to soak beans. There’s the traditional way and the quick soak way. If I’m headed to work on the morning that we’re having these delicious peas, I just put a lid on these legumes with the water and head out the door. Done, simple and fast. When I get home from work, they’re ready to cook. Doesn’t get much simpler than that!
If I’m home and mid afternoon I suddenly decide I want these for dinner (like today), I do the quick soak method. After putting the field peas and water in the pot, I turn on the burner to medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes.
Turn off the burner and cover with a lid. Walk away and leave them to do their soaking for a couple of hours.
Here’s how much the field peas grew! This is from the quick soaking method after 2 hours. They are ready for cooking!
If you soaked them all day while you’re at work, they’ll be ready for cooking when you get home. If you did the quick soak, they’ll be ready to cook in about 2 hours.
When you’re ready to cook, make sure there’s enough water to just cover the beans.
Many people prefer to drain the soaking water and add fresh, and I have done that many times. Some say that it causes less gas in folks, some say they feel it’s just a cleaner way to cook the beans. For so many years, I never drained and rinsed the beans because I never knew we were ‘suppose’ to. So a while back, I started doing exactly that thinking I would be doing it the proper way. But here’s the thing… I’ve learned by cooking dried beans both ways that I loose important flavors when I drain off the soaking water and add fresh. I also learned that the gassy effect was no different. So, now I’m back to not draining the soaking water and I’m much happier with the flavors in all dried beans. So, to drain or not to drain… It’s really your call. Either way, it will be a delicious dish.
Put them on the stove, turn on the burner to a medium-high heat and bring it to a rolling boil. Boil uncovered for 2 minutes. Turn down the heat to a medium-low heat so that the beans are boiling lightly and cook about 15-20 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper or to taste, give them a quick stir and check them for tenderness. Make sure they still have water and haven’t boiled dry. Add water as needed. These peas will go from almost done to completely done pretty quickly. Do not over cook them cause they’ll get mushy. We do not like mushy vegetables! The ones I did today took about 18 Minutes to that perfect tenderness.
Now, here’s the thing with the lid. When the peas (or any dried bean) are cooking, they tend to form a foamy “gas” and with a non vented lid, the foam will bubble over and make a mess on your stove. Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil or a pat of butter and that will help. If you have a lid that is vented, that’s best but since I don’t, here’s what i do… As pictured above, I lift the lid and lay it kinda cockeyed so steam can escape. That will help minimize the foaming.
Looking for a dried black bean dish chocked full of meat and flavors? Check out this Brazilian Black Beans! It’s a personal favorite of ours!
And that’s it! So, in the amount of time it takes you to prepare a cake of cornbread and grill some Greek marinated chicken, these basic field peas are a cinch to make. Oh, did I mention Greek marinated chicken? Oh my, I have this recipe that I do for us and it’s fabulous. It’s prepared and marinated over night so those fabulous flavors can penetrate throughout the chicken breasts. Here’s the recipe for the Greek Marinated Chicken! Enjoy!
This recipe is for basic dried field peas. You can always add chopped onions and carrots, spices and herbs to take it to a whole new level. Add these ingredients after you’ve soaked the peas. What would you add to these to give it a different twist? How about a quick soup with field peas?
Here’s the printer friendly version.