Black-eyed Peas & Leeks

Black-eyed Peas & Leeks Recipe

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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What a beautiful book! The cover type is joyful! I love it! This recipe looks great. I don't use enough tarragon. Must remedy that. Thank you for the recipe!

I love this simple, delicious-sounding version of blackeyed peas. I tend to be stuck on the onion-jalapeno-garlic-bacon route, and this is decidedly different. Yum.

I love any excuse to cook with leeks. I'm adding this to the long list of "must try" recipes from your blog.

I love any excuse to cook with leeks. I'm adding this to the long list of "must try" recipes from your blog.

This sounds delicious! I've never cooked black eyed peas and am always intrigued. What's stopped me in the past has been the typical recipe with ham, my husband won't eat it. Looking forward to trying this!

The peas look delicious. Now, if only I could cure myself of the angst I get every time I look at the title of your friend's magazine and want to correct it to 'Put AN Egg On It'. aaaaaaaaaaaa


Today I made this salad and I really loved it. The flavours meld into a special one and it makes you want to eat more. I combined it with two other recipes: "Spanish Rice" and "Chicken in Cilantro Sauce". Both from the cookbook "Los Barrios", a tex-mex family cookbook from the restaurant Los Barrios in San Antonio, TX.

Tatjana Fischer-Driessen

Love this simple looking recipe. I would never have thought of combining leeks and black eyed peas but it sounds great.


Good grief! Peas and Leeks!! Did you do that on purpose? Great recipe in spite of the humour of the title.


Heidi! This looks amazing, I will definitely give it a try this week!

gosh, heidi...we've never met, yet i think you're endlessly cool because of what you cook, photograph, and share. then, you go and "talk up" a friend in the nicest way. plus, you live in my hometown. wow! aaaand, i love black-eye peas. i'm now speechless :) HS: Thanks Tav, I have to say, I feel like the lucky one. I get to work on projects I love, my readers are the nicest people ever, and living in SF is pretty great too. I feel very fortunate. Hope you are having a great weekend.


This looks like real comfort food--leeks are so luxurious and since I love all kinds of beans but have NOT tried the black-eyed kind yet, this should be fun! You must have fun choosing dishes for each photo the because platter you used to photograph the beans goes perfcetly with the blond and brown beans!


This sounds subtle, understated, absolutely lovely. My most favorite sort of food.

Looks and sounds lovely. I not very fond of the ham and bean thing as a rule--too much earth for my earthy constitution. The leeks and herbs would definitely lighten the load. And Primordial Soup is right about the recipe photo--the green of the stems, the green of the leeks, fresh for the eyes--delightful. Thanks!

I've only used black eyed peas for soup. On New Year's Day. Not sure it's ever delivered on the luck part, and though I like the tradition I've also wanted something a bit lighter and different. This looks delicious and a must try in it's stead this year. Love the story too.

Heidi, next time try fresh black eyed peas-they cook in a small amount of water in 15 minutes. I grow them in my garden (in Texas)-they are so good. Will try them with the leeks-thanks for the recipe.


hi. my names marjan &im iranian & i want say you that very beautiful . im sorry i speak english but not verry well. thank you& bye


I have a ton of black eyed peas at my house -- this looks like a great recipe to use them and the leeks that I'm growing!

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