Inspired by a recent Saveur (I so love this magazine!) article on Southern field peas, I hied myself off to Canino's on Airline to pick up some purple hull peas to make for dinner. Well, they didn't have purple hulls, but I did find some freshly shelled (like that morning and I got there around 11 AM) lady cream peas. I'd never seen them at Canino's, but I'd heard of them, so I walked out with a pile of peas and some mustard greens. A quick stop at my local meat purveyor (B&W on Shepherd) for a smoked ham hock, and I was back at the house around noon. So here's what I did:

4 thick slices of bacon
1 medium 1015 onion, diced fine
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp dried thyme
6 cups (more or less) fresh lady cream peas, picked over and rinsed
1 medium smoked ham hock (it's easier if your butcher splits it)
homemade chicken stock to cover

1. Render bacon - remove the bacon to paper towels.

2. Saute the onion in the bacon fat until translucent - add thyme and cayenne and black pepper.

3. In an 8 quart Crock Pot, place the peas. Add the onion, and snuggle the ham hock in the middle of it all. Add chicken stock to cover the peas with about an inch of liquid (this was 80% full at the end). Add bay leaves, and simmer until the peas are done (creamy and sweet), about 6 hours. If you need to turn the heat down to low, feel free.

4. Remove bay leaves and ham hock from the peas. Discard bay, and let the hock cool. Remove the meat from the hock and add it back to the peas - that's good eatin! I don't think I'd add hot sauce to the peas - the delicate flavor of lady creams would get lost.

I served the peas with mashed potatoes, the greens parboiled, wrung out, sliced thin, and braised in more chicken stock, then 'dressed' in a quick sauce of white vinegar, cayenne and cane syrup, with the crumbled bacon on top. Oh yes, and Southern cornbread (no sugar please) made in a skillet in the oven. All that an a Shiner Helles Lager made me feel like I was back in Cut-N-Shoot where I grew up.
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Disclosure: I sell wine to people.

"...it's a pity more and more of the wines produced in the world today are beginning to take on a sameness of character..." - Sheldon & Pauline Wasserman, 1985