Last night we ate at our apartment after Sarah, Evan, and Van went fishing with Jason Brady and his family. It seemed like a perfect time to cook up some purple hull peas I had bought at the farmers market. I went to the grocery store to get some salt pork and tasso, but I probably could have found those at the farmers market, too.
You can’t have peas, tasso, and collards without some cornbread to sop up all of the juices, but none of us was in the mood to bake cornbread in our understocked apartment kitchen. Fortunately we had some leftover corn muffins that had been served with our chicken fried steak at Strawn’s for lunch. The muffins were sweet (Yankee cornbread in Louisiana!?) but they would have to do.
I cooked the meal while the fisher persons were out on the lake.
Purple Hull Peas, Tasso and Collards
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 8 ounces salt pork, cut into a large dice
- enough water to cover the salt pork in a small saucepan
- 32 ounces chicken stock
- 1 quart shelled purple hull peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 large green bell pepper, seeded, deveined, and chopped
- 14 1/2 ounces canned, diced tomatoes (fresh tomatoes would be great, but I forgot to buy them at the farmers market)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- 8 ounces Cajun-style tasso ham, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 large bunch fresh collard greens, washed, trimmed, and cut into a coarse chiffonade
- Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste (optional)
- In a large, covered pot heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, cover, and sweat until the onions are soft and translucent. Transfer to a bowl.
- Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the salt pork. Return to the boil and boil for 5 minutes to remove any excess salt.. Drain and transfer to the large pot over medium heat. Stir frequently to allow light browning.
- Return the onions to the pot. Add chicken stock and bring to the boil. Stir in the peas, bell pepper, and garlic. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Return to a boil and then adjust the heat to a simmer. Simmer, covered for 1 hour or until the peas are soft.
- Stir in the tasso and simmer for another 30 minutes.
- Add the collard greens and simmer for another 30 minutes or until the greens are thoroughly cooked but not limp. Adjust the seasoning. Be sure to use hot sauce if you like it.
- Serve in large soup bowls.