Dried Peas


1 1/2 pounds smoked ham hocks, 1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke, 1 pound bag of dried crowder peas, soaked overnight, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1 1/2 cup purple onions, chopped, 1/4 cup green bell pepper, 1 (12 oz.) bag frozen speckled butter beans, 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 pound fresh okra, salt, and pepper to taste.

Get out a heavy pot, add the ham hocks to the pot with enough water to cover the meat.  Cook on medium heat until the meat starts to fall off the bones, add the liquid smoke. Get out a skillet add 2 tablespoons of butter and the onions, and bell pepper.  Cook until the onions’ edges are brown and soft, add the garlic to the skillet, continue to cook until you smell the garlic.  Add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic to the meat pot. Check the water level; if low, add another cup of water or a cup of chicken broth. While the meat is cooking, rinse and sort the peas.  Add the peas to the pot.   Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour, add the butter beans, pepper flakes, and the chicken broth, cook for another 30 minutes. When the beans are tender, when you can mash them between your thumb and pointer finger, add salt and pepper to taste.  Lay the okra pods out on a cutting board, sprinkle salt, pepper on the okra, lay the okra on top, continue to cook, uncovered for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until the okra is heated.

I call this dish elegant soul food; serve these peas with hot water cornbread, grilled ribeye steaks, candied yams, and a simple salad with a glass of red wine on the side.

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