The black-eyed pea, also called black-eyed bean or blackeye, is a subspecies of the cowpea, which also includes catjang and the yardlong bean and is grown for its medium-sized edible bean. The bean mutates easily, giving rise to a number of varieties. The common commercial one is called the California Blackeye; it is pale-coloured with a prominent black spot. The currently accepted botanical name is Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata, although previously it was classified in the genus Phaseolus. Vigna unguiculata subsp. dekindtiana is the wild relative and Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis is the related asparagus bean. Other beans of somewhat similar appearance, such as the "Frijol ojo de cabra" ("Goat's eye bean") of Northern Mexico are sometimes incorrectly called "black eyed peas" and vice versa.
Black-eyed peas are traditionally eaten on New Year's Day in the American South and in some other parts of the U.S. In some areas, they are served as a starchy side dish, cooked with or without sidemeat, bacon, ham bones, fatback or another pork product and/or diced onion, and often served with a hot chili sauce or a pepper-flavoured vinegar. In other areas, they are served in a traditional dish called "Hoppin' John" (or "Skippin' Jenny" if served as leftovers), made of black-eyed peas cooked with rice, sometimes pork (such as hog jowls, ham hock, sidemeat or fatback), and seasonings.
The traditional meal also features collard or mustard greens or cabbage. This is supposed to bring good luck and financial enrichment. The peas stand for good luck, the greens symbolize paper money. Cornbread also often accompanies this meal.
How to cook black-eyed peas in a pressure cooker
Use this basic guide if you do not have a specific recipe
- Pick through the beans and discard any discoloured beans or loose skins
- Soak in cold water for a minimum of the time shown, soaking overnight is usually the best way to achieve this
- Change soaking water a few times if possible
- Never cook the beans in the water they were soaked in
- Rinse the beans well at the end of the soaking period
- Ensure the pressure cooker is at least a quarter full
- Never fill the pressure cooker more than half full
- Always cover the beans with at least 5 cm (2") water
- Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the water - this reduces foaming
- Allow the pressure cooker to get to the required pressure and then begin timing
- Use the specified pressure release method - this is the natural method in the case of dried beans or pulses
- A bean is usually perfectly cooked when it can be easily squashed between your forefinger and thumb
- If the beans are not sufficiently cooked, return to pressure, cook for another 3 minutes and allow the pressure to reduce using the natural method.
Re-check that the beans are cooked to your liking.
|BEAN VARIETY||COLD WATER SOAK TIME
|PRESSURE COOKING TIME||COOKING PRESSURE
High = 15 psi
Medium = 10 psi
Low = 5 psi
|PRESSURE RELEASE METHOD|
|Black eyed peas||None||10 minutes||High||Natural|