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Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas and Bacon

Savor Southern Comfort with Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas and Bacon

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Embrace the warmth and flavor of Southern cuisine with this hearty and satisfying Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon recipe. Perfect for busy weekdays or leisurely weekends, this dish combines the earthy goodness of black-eyed peas with the smoky richness of bacon and ham. Set it and forget it in your slow cooker, and let the magic unfold as the flavors meld together to create a dish that’s sure to become a family favorite.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for a little heat)
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces of diced ham
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare Ingredients: Rinse the black-eyed peas under cold water and drain them thoroughly. Chop the onion, mince the garlic, and cut the bacon into small pieces.
  2. Combine Ingredients: In the slow cooker, add the rinsed black-eyed peas, diced onion, minced garlic, bay leaf, smoked paprika, dried thyme, and cayenne pepper (if using). Pour in the low-sodium chicken broth or water until the ingredients are fully submerged.
  3. Add Bacon and Ham: Scatter the cut bacon and diced ham over the top of the black-eyed peas mixture in the slow cooker.
  4. Cook: Cover the slow cooker with the lid and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours, or until the black-eyed peas are tender and cooked through.
  5. Season to Taste: Once the black-eyed peas are cooked, remove the bay leaf and discard it. Taste the peas and adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper as needed.
  6. Serve: Ladle the slow cooker black-eyed peas into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired. Serve hot and enjoy!

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Vegetarian Option: Omit the bacon and ham for a vegetarian version of this dish. Increase the amount of smoked paprika for added flavor.
  • Sautéed Vegetables: Enhance the flavor by sautéing the onion and garlic in a skillet with a little olive oil before adding them to the slow cooker.
  • Extra Smokiness: For an extra smoky flavor, you can add a few drops of liquid smoke to the slow cooker along with the other ingredients.
  • Creamy Texture: For a creamier texture, mash some of the cooked black-eyed peas against the side of the slow cooker before serving.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

  • Keto Option: Substitute the black-eyed peas with cooked cauliflower or chopped cabbage to reduce the carb content. Increase the amount of bacon and ham for added flavor and protein.
  • Low-Carb Variation: Use half the amount of black-eyed peas and add more vegetables such as diced bell peppers, celery, and tomatoes to bulk up the dish without adding extra carbs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use canned black-eyed peas instead of dried ones? A: Yes, you can use canned black-eyed peas for a quicker cooking time. Simply rinse and drain the canned peas before adding them to the slow cooker. Reduce the cooking time by half since canned peas are already cooked.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers of this dish? A: Yes, you can freeze leftovers of the slow cooker black-eyed peas for future meals. Allow the dish to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers or freezer bags. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Q: What should I serve with slow cooker black-eyed peas? A: Slow cooker black-eyed peas pair well with cornbread, rice, or cooked greens such as collard greens or kale. They also make a delicious side dish for grilled or roasted meats.

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In conclusion, Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon is a quintessential Southern comfort food that’s as easy to make as it is delicious to eat. Whether you’re craving a hearty meal on a chilly day or looking for a dish to serve at your next gathering, this recipe is sure to satisfy. With the convenience of a slow cooker and the irresistible combination of flavors, it’s a dish that embodies the heart and soul of Southern cuisine. So, dust off your slow cooker, gather your ingredients, and get ready to savor the comforting goodness of this classic Southern dish.

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