A recent trip to the farmer's market introduced me to a new pea I had never tasted before, purple hull peas. Related to black eyed peas, they are both cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata) which are very common in the Southern part of the United States. They are sometimes also called field peas.
I was familiar with black eyed peas but had only ever eaten them after they had been dried and needed rehydration. These were fresh and I wasn't quite sure what to do with them.
After browsing cook books and the internet and finally decided to use them in a family favorite, peas and celery. Turns out they fit right in and made this tasty dish even better. The fresh purple hull peas were absolutely amazing. They were creamy and tasty; now our new family favorite is...
peas-y peas and celery
1 1/2 T. vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 C. vegetable broth
1 C. fresh purple hull peas
1 C. green peas
1 stalk celery, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 t. butter
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion begins to soften
Add broth and vegetables and bring to a low boil
Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until beans are just tender
Drain liquid, toss vegetables with butter, salt and pepper
I'm sure you'll like them too. So much that I'm sharing this recipe from the farmer's market for their summer succotash. As the farmer points out, if you can't get purple hull peas you can always substitute fresh baby lima beans, fresh cranberry beans, or fresh black-eyed peas.
photo courtesy of www.flickr.com/photos/blueyonder