Black-eyed Peas & Leeks Recipe

From a recipe in Put A Egg On It magazine, issue #2 - Black-eyed peas with lots of caramelized leeks, melted butter, marjoram, and tarragon.

Black-eyed Peas & Leeks

I have some cool friends. Friends who are far, far cooler than I'll ever be. One example? Sarah Keough. I met Sarah in San Francisco shortly after I graduated from college. I must have been 22, and she was a just a wee teen. Fifteen? Maybe. In addition to being one of the coolest people I know, she's also one of the nicest. As far as I'm concerned, nice beats out cool any day, and a genuine combination of the two is rare. Sarah lives in New York City now, but we've kept in touch over the years. She's one half of the art direction and design studio R&S MEDIA, along with Ralph McGinnis. In addition to that, her photography is always inspiring - this Dinners series is a favorite of mine. Today's recipe actually comes from a new print project from Sarah and Ralph. They've created a digest-sized magazine focused on food and cooking, Put A Egg On It.

Black-eyed Pea Recipe

You can see a couple of the spreads up above. All in all, the little booklet is a mash-up of stories, photo essays, cooking tips, illustrations, funky fonts...a pet pic or two, all compiled from a quirk-tastic range of contributors. This is the second issue, summer 2010. It is 30-ish pages, and printed on pale green paper. The back section of the magazine is the recipe section, and in this issue, the theme was beans. My understanding is that each new issue will have a recipe section with a new theme. This time around Miriam Bale's black-eyed peas jumped out at me, so I thought I'd share them here.

Black-eyed Pea Recipe

Miriam notes, "Black-eyed peas are often served with smoky-sweet ham, piquant red pepper and onions, but the best way to emphasize the peas own earthy sweet qualities is to serve them with leeks and tarragon. I first had something like this at the Organic Cafe in Oakland. This dish reminds me of a song by Marlena Shaw, "California Soul."

We really loved the salad. A perfect picnic or potluck salad for sure. The butter added at the end? Don't skimp. It melds everything together. And to be honest, this is one of those cases when more would be even better. Special occasion? Double up.

I made a few tweaks to Miriam's recipe, nothing major. I like caramelized leeks, so I let mine cook longer than she probably would. I also gave ballpark amounts of herbs in the recipe, her instructions where a bit looser and free-form than what I wrote up down below. Just know, if you feel like you want more tarragon or marjoram flavor, add more. Alternately, adding some chopped fresh tarragon and marjoram, might be pretty great. In a sense, doubling and layering flavors by using both dried and fresh forms of the same herb.

If you're interested in a video that flips through the pages of the magazine, you can click here. Put A Egg On It #2 is available here for $7. Congrats R&S, can't wait to see #3.

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Black-eyed Peas & Leeks

Couple things...After slicing the leeks, you want to make sure you wash them well. Rinse and swish in a big bowl of water, to shake out any grit, then drain completely. Miriam also notes the importance of sourcing dried herbs that aren't past their prime, "please take a sniff of the dried tarragon to make sure it doesn't smell like twigs." If your dried herbs are sawdust, and a trip to the store isn't in order, swap in a mix of whatever chopped fresh herbs you have on hand. And/or a bit of lemon zest.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons+ unsalted butter
fine grain sea salt

4 good-sized leeks, dark green parts trimmed, quartered lengthwise, then sliced every 1/2-inch

3 cups cooked black-eyed peas*
heaping 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried tarragon

Heat the olive oil over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of the butter in your largest skillet. When hot, add a couple big pinches of salt, and stir in the leeks. Cook gently, stirring regularly until the leeks get nice and golden.

Add the drained beans to the skillet. Cook until heated through, then stir in the marjoram, tarragon, a couple big pinches of salt, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir well, taste, and adjust seasoning to your liking. You can add more salt, herbs, or butter at this point until it is to your liking. Serve family style in a medium bowl or platter.

Serves 6.

*To cook dried black-eyed peas. Start with 8 ounces / 225 g of black-eyed peas. Pick over well, looking for any dirt clots or pebbles. Cover with water and soak overnight, or for at least four hours. Drain, place in a large pot, and cover with water by about 3 inches. Simmer until the peas are cooked through, salting generously in the last ten minutes of cooking. Drain and you're ready to go.

Recipe slightly adapted from Miriam Bale's Black-eyed Peas with Leeks and Tarragon in Put a Egg on It #2.

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 15 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I love Black Eyed Peas - we always have them on New Year's for good luck (My husband is Southern). The rest of the year, they're great as a side or in a soup - tasty and very high in iron too. Trader Joe's actually carries them pre-cooked, which makes it easy to toss with tomatoes, feta, herbs, lemon & olive oil, etc as a quick salad. The texture is always a little better when you cook them yourself, but there's no beating a 5-minute effortless dish, especially in the summer. Lovely photo too as usual!

Deana (Cooking with Trader Joe's)

Wow that looks delicious and so simple, simple meals are my favorite.

Magda @ Be Nutritious

Will try this! I've gotten it in my mind that leeks are unique, and reserved for those special occasions - once or twice per year - when I make Vichysoisse. I remind myself that leeks are just a uniquely flavored mild onion, and hope that will inspire me to create with it more often. Black-eyed peas with sauteed onion? I wouldn't bat an eyelash... Heidi, your recipe illustration is my favorite photo of yours to date! Love how the green stems of the cut flowers in the vase peek into the frame to play off and emphasize the green of the leeks in the dish!

Primordial Soup

Great! I havn't cooked with black eyed peas yet, so this is a brilliant chance. In fact I hadn't cooked with leeks before a year ago when I went vegetarian and suddenly found all these wonderful vegetables which can be cooked in such exciting new ways! Thanks again Heidi!


Leeks are such a beautiful ingredient. :) I have a recipe for creamed leeks that is excellent with anything! Looks great Heidi.

A Teenage Gourmet

I agree with you. It is nice to be able to find both in a friendship. I like to cook with my best friend and he has the same qualities. Your idea on the leeks was a good one. I would not have tried it without your suggestion. Thanks.


Black-eyed peas are far too neglected in my kitchen. For some reason I so rarely think of them, perhaps it's the ham association. I love leeks, so I'm putting this recipe in the queue!


Finally an intriguing take on Black-eyed peas! I lived in the south for five years, and let me tell you, black-eyed peas got dull pretty quickly. But this recipe sounds delightful! Thanks for sharing!

Dina Avila

Black Eyed Peas always seem a little scary to me -- silly, I know, since I am a beanhead. I love them when someone else makes them for me though. This dish seems doable enough (easier than making cheese, surely!) so maybe i can start here. Leeks are finally rolling in from the garden too, so perhaps it's fate! Thanks for sharing Sarah's artwork too -- lovely!

becky and the beanstock

thanks, heidi. the zine looks great, but i tried the link to the shop and it didn't work. HS: It should be fixed now Lila. Let me know if you're still getting an error.


I absolutely adore black eyed peas. A vegetarian version without ham is refreshing. Thanks for sharing! :)


I LOVE blackeyed peas! I always make them with the smoky ham and usually served with greens. I am definitely trying them this way as soon as possible. In fact, now I want blackeyed peas for breakfast! Thanks for sharing.


Black-eyed peas are my culinary Achilles heel. One plateful, and I have childhood flashbacks of my staring down the the wicked little legumes. I never won that battle with peas and/or parents, but then again they were never prepared like this. So Heidi, in the name of personal growth and maturity, I shall try this recipe. And if 101 Cookbooks history repeats itself, no doubt I will love it. Thank you, Tom

tom @ tall clover farm

I would love to make this for todays lunch. I have everything for it except for the black-eyed peas. I do have some adzuki beans which I cooked yesterday. I suppose I could use them instead.Thank you for sharing!


This is a great and simple idea! I have a bag of black eyed peas waiting in my pantry to experiment with, cannot wait. Also, what a neat magazine too! I'd love to check it out!


oh that salad looks great!

Simply Life

What amazing friends you have, indeed! This magazine is such a fun idea. I wish I could get my hands on it.

Shaheen {The Purple Foodie}

Lovely simple recipe Heidi, thanks for sharing. That's a good reminder about the dried herbs. This would be a perfect dish for making in the winter when leeks are available but fresh herbs are hard to come by but not so good with fusty old herbs that just taste of cupboard.


I love the simplicity of this recipe. Very few ingredients but a tasty dish I am sure. Can't wait to give it a whirl, but with a vegan butter. I have fresh tarragon right now in the garden which will be delish! MIght need to find some fresh marjoram too!

Julie the Alkaline Sister

That was a lovely tribute to your talented friend. I enjoy your recipes, but posts like this (sharing little personal 'tidbits' and influences/inspirations) are what really keep me coming back.

Torrie @ a place to share...

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