Black-Eyed Pea Cakes

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I did not grow up eating black-eyed peas as a kid.  Not that we never ate them, but they made rare appearances at our dinner table.  We definitely never ate collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, as is the tradition in many parts of the South.  My family was more of a “meat and potatoes” kind of family.  And, to be quite honest, I didn’t really like black-eyed peas anyway.  Sometime while I was in college I ran across a recipe for black-eyed pea cakes.  I have no idea why this recipe appealed to me, but for some reason I wrote it down and made them one day.  And guess what?  I liked them!  A lot!

I have made these a handful of times in the years since I first discovered this recipe, and I really should make them more often.  They are really good, Hubby likes them, and they make great leftovers.  And, according to Hubby, they attract attention in the breakroom at work in the form of comments like, “Boy, what smells so good?”

The recipe listed here is the long version, for the most part.  There are several shortcuts you can take to make this a much quicker process, like using canned peas (I actually used dried peas and cooked them in my pressure cooker).  You can also use chive and onion cream cheese in place of the cream cheese, chives, and onion powder listed below.  Finally, you can use hush puppy mix, or cornbread mix if you can’t find hush puppy mix, in place of the last 4 ingredients.  If you do, then reduce the amount of salt by 1 teaspoon, as the packaged mix will have salt in it.

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Black-Eyed Pea Cakes

1 small onion, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (keep them separated)

1  8-ounce block cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons chives

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/4 cups cornmeal

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

Using a food processor or potato masher, mash 1 can of the black-eyed peas until they are almost a paste.

Saute the onion in the 1 tablespoon olive oil until softened.  Place in a large mixing bowl.  Combine with the remaining ingredients and mix everything together well.  This mixture will be more like a dough than a batter.  You may need to add a little bit of water to help bind the mixture.  Use your hands to form the mixture into 2-inch patties.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Place several cakes into the skillet, but do not crowd them.  Cover skillet with a lid and cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until they are golden brown.  Drizzle a little bit of oil on the cakes, then flip cakes over and cook another 4-5 minutes.  Remove cakes from skillet and place on a paper towel-lined plate.  Cook remaining cakes, adding a little bit of oil to the skillet as needed.

Serve hot with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, or ranch dressing.  These would be awesome stuffed into a pita pocket!

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