Makes 6-7 servings.
1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas
6 strips bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cups long-grain white rice
2 TBSP. butter, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of hot sauce
1/2 cup minced green onions, including tops
3 TBSP. minced parsley
Rinse peas and pick them over. Cover with 3 cups of cold water; add 1 tbsp. salt and let stand overnight. (For a quicker soak, to serve peas the same day, place peas in a large pot and pour on 4 cups of boiling water. Heat to boiling again, and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.)
Drain peas, discarding water, and place in a large pot. In a separate pan, sauté bacon until crisp; add it to the peas, reserving the rendered drippings. Add onion, 1/2 tbsp. salt and 2 cups water. Bring just to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until peas are tender, about 20 minutes (longer in high altitude and hard-water areas). A small amount of cooking liquid should remain; if liquid is absorbed too quickly by cooking, add fresh water by 1/4 cups.
Cover rice with cold water. Bring to a boil, stir once, cover and lower heat to the barest simmer. Simmer rice for 20 minutes.
When peas are tender, add cooked rice to pot. Stir in 2 TBSP. reserved bacon fat (or butter, if preferred), salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes longer so flavors mingle and rice absorbed some of the remaining cooking liquid.
To serve, garnish with green onions and parsley.
Source: “Classic American Cooking” by the California Culinary Academy