How to Make Black-Eyed Peas & Cornbread

Chef Robert Wiley demonstrates a holiday tradition, showing us his version of black-eyed peas and cornbread. Black-eyed peas have been a staple food in the southern diet for centuries, and black-eyed peas and cornbread a common New Year’s Day dish associated with bringing good luck for the year.

Black-Eyed Peas and Corn Bread Recipe

courtesy of Robert Wiley
serves 6-8 people

Robert Wiley Prepares Black-Eyed Peas & Cornbread

Robert Wiley Prepares his Black-Eyed Peas
and Cornbread Recipe

Black Eyed Peas-Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Seasoning meat (ham shanks, ham hocks, bacon, smoked turkey necks etc…)
  • 2 ea. onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 ea.  bunch Fresh thyme, chopped fine
  • 3 Tablespoons seasoning salt of choice (store bought or homemade, recipe follows*)
  • 2 or 3 Bay leaves
  • 1 or 2  Teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda (optional) note: baking soda will help the beans soften better. Especially if you have hard water.
  • 6 cups water


  1. Place all the above ingredients in large pot and bring to boil.
  2. Cook at a high simmer to form a rich stock. Cooking time will be about 45 min to an hour.

2nd Ingredient List

  • 1 Pound dried black-eyed peas (soaking black-eyed peas in water prior to cooking will shorten the cooking time but is optional)
  • 1 Cup.  celery, large dice (more or less)
  • 1 Cup carrots, cut in to coins (more or less)

2nd Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to stock in pot and return to a boil. Cook till beans are almost done. This should take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Check for seasoning and add more as needed.
  2. 2 Cups of canned diced Tomatoes (this is about the amount in a standard can of tomatoes)
  3. Add to pot and continue cooking til beans are very tender and the cooking liquid has formed rich sauce or gravy.

Old Fashioned Southern Corn Bread Recipe

  • 1 or 2 Teaspoons lard or oil (butter is likely to burn too quickly for this recipe)
  • 1 3/4 Cup. fine stone ground corn meal
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar (optional), Most Southern Corn Breads Don’t Contain Sugar.
  • 1 1/2 Cup. buttermilk
  • 1 ea. Egg


  1. Put lard into 9 inch cast iron skillet. Place in oven and preheat to 500 degrees.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.
  4. When oven is hot, remove skillet and swish hot grease around in pan to cover all interior surfaces. Pour batter in to skillet and return to oven for about 15 minutes or till golden brown and crusty.
  5. Remove from oven and allow a couple minutes before cutting and serving.

*All purpose seasoning recipe

  • 1 Cup Kosher salt
  • 1 Cup Granulated onion powder
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated garlic powder
  • 1/2 Cup Black pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Paprika
  • 1/4 Cup Marjoram
  • 1/4 Cup Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoon Sage
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Celery seed
  • 2 Teaspoon Ground rosemary (use a coffee grinder to grind up the dried rosemary)

*Seasoning Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and process til mixture is combines well and smooth.

Store in a tightly sealed container till needed. This mixture is great with soups, stews and roasts.


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