photograph by Matt Hulsman

Yield: 4 servings.

1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 tablespoon butter
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon light brown sugar
3 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into small pieces
1 bay leaf
1 bunch collards, destemmed
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the black-eyed peas overnight in 4 cups of water.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic powder, sugar, bacon, and bay leaf. Cover the pan and leave it for 2 minutes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the bacon starts to crisp.

Drain the peas and pour them into the saucepan. Cover them with cold water and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 30 minutes to 2 hours. The peas are done when you can easily squish them on the side of the pot with the back of a spoon; check tenderness every 30 minutes. Add more water if needed.

Stack the collard green leaves on top of each other and roll tightly. Slice the leaves and then cut in half.

When the peas are cooked, add the collards to the pot and cover. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper, then stir. Taste the liquid and peas and add salt as needed. Cover the pan and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. When the collards are tender, turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaf. Serve over rice or with cornbread.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.