Cajun Crowder BeansPrep: 20 min Cook: 45 min Servings: 6by Amos Miller101 recipes>
Also known as Crowder peas, these delicious little fellas can often be found in frozen form at the store. These are fresh picked right here in Michigan and, like fava beans and so many other seasonal treats, we rush them to the table. Crowders are really a 'Southern' treat and I first enjoyed them when visiting relatives in West Virginia years ago. We called them a "beans and cornbread" treat - good. I've really moved the whole party to Louisiana and greatly modified the recipe, morphing it into a Cajun-style dish. It wouldn't surprise me if there is a similar take somewhere, but I've not found it. I suppose one could substitute black-eyed peas, but as long as we can get Crowder s off the vines, we'll cook 'em just like this. Also note that I am giving this to you exactly as I do it - you follow your taste, culinary instincts and available products as much as you need to. My flavors are superb, so I can't vouch for any substitutions - when I get really picky guests (and I do), this is one offering on the menu that brings them back for more.
- 6 slices bacon, gently cooked & crumbled (I use only apple smoked)
- 1 nice ham steak, browned and cubed
- 1 healthy TBS, pure (real) lard, (or Crisco)
- 1 healthy TBS bacon drippings
- 1 onion , diced (I prefer Spanish or yellow here)
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced (I like to use one stalk with its leaves)
- 2 lbs. shelled crowder peas (thats about 3 lbs in the shell)
- 4 C veal stock
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 healthy TBS fresh thyme
- 1 crushed dried bay leaf
- 1 hearty TBS Cajun seasoning (I make my own, but you can use Emeril's or Chef Paul's)
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish
- Cook the bacon slowly, until evenly browned. Drain, crumble and set aside.
- Brown the ham steak in the same skillet, in the bacon dripping. set aside the ham steak. Let the drippings settle and cool. There's a powerful lot of flavor you'll want in this dish waiting in those drippings. There is also enough salt to reduce what you'll need to finish the dish.
- In a large pot, melt the lard and add the rendered drippings from the skillet
- Mix the onion, celery, and green bell pepper in the pot, sweating until just tender
- Stir in the Crowder peas and the stock
- Season with the garlic, thyme, bay leaf and Cajun seasoning.
- Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 40 minutes.
- Adjust salt and seasoning to you taste.
- Add the diced ham and continue cooking for about 5 minutes
- Serve with Basmati rice (or your favorite), a side of Braised Greens of your choosing, my Jalapeno Maple Bacon Cornbread. I serve a fresh Peach Cobbler for dessert.
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