Purple Hull Peas

We put out the extra fancy drinking glass for this meal

A lot of people would say that purple hull peas are the same thing as black eyed peas. They would be wrong, even if the taste and cooking uses are exactly the same. At least that is what every Southerner swears when you dare make the comparison between the two.  Regardless, they are very tasty and in the summer months fresh and cheap at most farmers markets. Chances are if you’ve never heard of these, you’ve never lived in the South. Normally they are sold in the deep purple pod and then whoever bought them gets to shuck the peas from them. You can also pay a little, or a lot, more and get them already shucked. Either way you have to discard the outer shells unlike snow peas or green beans.

If you cannot find purple hulls, black eyed peas will work fine in this recipe. Omit the jalapeno if you do not want spicy beans. Serve with cornbread to soak up the juice and a tall glass of fresh tea.

Purple Hull Peas

  • 3 slices thick bacon diced
  • 2 cups fresh purple hulled peas
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage chopped
  • Salt/pepper

Brown bacon in a large stock pot until crispy and the fat has rendered. Add onion and saute, scrapping up any bits stuck to the bottom of pan. When onion is translucent add jalapeno and cook over medium heat until fragrant. Add peas and season with salt and pepper. Add stock and extra water to cover beans by 2 inches in liquid. Add sage and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium low and cook until done, about 45 minutes.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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65 Responses to Purple Hull Peas

  1. JamieAnne says:

    Being Southern, I know the difference. 😉 I planted purple hulls a few weeks ago. I’m hopeful that they will be able to produce. It’s so dang hot.
    This looks wonderful. Honestly, I’m going to try this.

  2. I’m trying to decide what it means that I grew up in Texas and never had purple hulls. Or maybe I did, and no one was kind enough to distinguish them for me. Either way, this recipe looks great!

  3. Mmmmm… I am a firm believer that bacon makes everything better. And jalapenos. 🙂

  4. Nope, had never heard of them but it looks wonderful and sounds very tasty. Funnily enough made something similar yesterday but with a shank of pork in it too! Love the drinking glass, I think it adds a note of sophistication!

  5. Charles says:

    “purple hulled peas” – Probably yet another pulse I’m unable to find in France, where my choices are often limited to chick peas, white haricots, red kidney beans and flageolet beans – /sigh

    I’ll be going to England though soon – I’ll see if I can pick some up! Also – my wife just introduced me to the joys of cornbread, after making an order from an American Online Store offering delivery to France. She ordered some corn flour stuff among other things. Holy crap Cornbread is good. Hot from the oven, smothered in butter… Oh my!

  6. Is it really a glass, or is it a jar? :-s

  7. banbamama says:

    This looks so wholesome. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. Feeding Time says:

    I’ve never even heard of purple hull peas but they look delicious.

  9. When I see black-eyed peas, I think of Benin. The ladies there first boil them, then remove the skin. They mash the skinned black-eyed peas, add spices and crab, then they steam the mixture in recycled small tomato sauce cans and serve the resulting cake with a spicy sauce. It’s good.

  10. As usual, this look delicious! I don’t know if you’ve noticed from some of my photos, but we use Mason jars for drinking glasses too– I have a bad habit of breaking glasses, but I don’t feel bad breaking one of these when I can buy a 12 pack for $8 at the grocery store 🙂

    • We’re not as bad as we used to be when we didn’t have a dishwasher and our dog was younger. We lost so many wine glasses to his tail. He’d flick it right when he walked by the coffee table and there it went. But pitchers and glasses generally don’t last long. I think we have odd numbers of every former set we bought.

  11. Judy says:

    This looks so good and looks like something you would see on any Southern table. Love the photo with the tea and the cornbread.

  12. ChefMom says:

    This looks like a great hearty soup. I can imagine it’s very good soaked in that cornbread there too. 🙂

  13. Judy says:

    I like the flavor of sage, this looks warm and inviting. Will have to save this one for our first fall soup when the air is crisp again.

  14. I’ve wondered about this. Thank you for the lesson.

  15. nrhatch says:

    From the photo, it looks like there is some tomato in the sauce, but I don’t see it in the recipe ~ what made the sauce red?

  16. spicegirlfla says:

    Count me in as one who has never heard of these peas! but so glad to learn something new! It looks really yummy and comforting!

  17. Sissi says:

    I really enjoy discovering the Southern US specialities on your blog! (I must make cornbread one day, otherwise I will never taste it!). Is it a jar serving as a glass???
    I have been adding dried marjoram to my bean dishes (of course not with the rare purple hulled peas!), but sage sounds like a very good alternative for next time!
    (I think you might have forgotten to list the tomato sauce/fresh tomatoes on your recipe)

    • I didn’t list the tomatoes because we just stirred in a bit of burrito sauce, mainly because we had some left over. We do that to use it up sometimes, it’s not quite the same but almost like adding a bit of sofrito. Here’s our burrito sauce: https://rufusguide.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/burrito-sauce/. It’s not crucial for the beans. And yep that’s a glass, a bit of a Southern thing to drink from a mason jar. I don’t think this is technically a mason jar though.

      • Sissi says:

        Thanks for the link! And thank you for the jar explanation! I see I also learn Southern traditions here, not only recipes 😉

      • What’s funny, is we’re not Southerners, just soaking up the culture. Katherine has Southern parents, but we grew up in Maryland (below the Mason-Dixon but not really Southern) and then moved to California. But we’ve lived here six years now, so we’re almost Southern.

  18. Now your getting all southern on us. This is what I grew up on. I never liked them until i reached college age I guess but they are down right delicious and I love the way you did them

  19. You and I think alike – my post today is on soup beans! I’ve never had purple hull peas – but will try them! Thanks for the recipe!

  20. Rachel says:

    I’ve seen them here (Austin TX) occasionally but haven’t tried them. Off to the farmers markets tomorrow and if I spot any I’ll give ’em a try! So far I’ve never met a bean I didn’t like! Looks highly yummy… mmmm!

  21. ambrosiana says:

    They indeed look like blacked eyed peas! Thanks for introducing this ingredient, which I have never heard before of! The soup looks wonderful and I love conrbread!

  22. Unfortunately I have never heard of purple hull peas, but fortunately you have educated me. Looks great!

  23. TasteFood says:

    Purple hulled peas – just the name sounds wonderful.

  24. Andrea says:

    Great photo! Makin’ me hungry!

  25. Well, I’m Southern and I dare say those look like black-eyed peas. I guess the distinction is beyond me! Those look just wonderful with the cornbread. My grandmother used to fix black-eyed peas with fresh corn mixed in with the peas. (Bonus: another Southern expression “to fix”. As in “Please fix me some tea!”)

  26. Caroline says:

    This soup looks amazing! I’m not sure if I’ve ever tried purple hulled peas actually. I’m definitely a fan of this soup though, especially since I’ve been on a huge bean kick for some reason, as you may have noticed–baked beans, ham & bean soup, bean dip. I’ll have to make this when I visit our place in South Carolina and really embrace the South. 🙂

  27. niasunset says:

    Purple Hull Peas… we know it and it is the favurite one. But we usually cook with olive oil (tomatos, onion, garlic) and serve them cold… Actually it is also a beautiful snack/starter. But I haven’t knows your recipe, seems different but should be delicious, and so benefit for health. Thank you dear Rufus, I am learning so many things and details. 🙂 have a nice weekend, with my love, nia

  28. Gosh I love beans. I recently tried black eye peas (not purple hulls, to my knowledge!) while I was visiting my sister in NC and LOVED them. It was a black eye pea relish that had celery, cucumber, tomatoes..and some type of spicy vinaigrette. SO good. I’ve had a craving for them ever since.

    I’ll have to try this soup. It looks like a good refreshing summery soup!

  29. The Swedish Chef says:

    Bread + Beans in almost any configuration is one of my favorite things ever. This looks so good!

  30. One of the many things I love about blogging! Learning all the time!Looks really delicious

  31. Serena says:

    Sounds great! Hearty, filling, and it has jalepeno- perfect! I’ve never tried purple hull peas, but they sure sound good if they taste liek black eyed peas.

  32. Ha! Love the “fancy” glass. This dish looks quite delicious.

  33. Lovin this soup! Never tried purple hulled peas before, I’ll have to look for them now. I started to have my kids drink out of mason jars too.

  34. Karen says:

    I think that people in the south may have had purple hull peas and just presumed they were blackeyed peas since they look so much alike. My mother would wait one day after picking them so that they were easy to shell. She would leave the very small ones whole like green beans. She thought it made the dish look pretty.

  35. joshuafagans says:

    I have lived in the South but have not heard of these. I do, however, love bean dishes like this. Looks great!

  36. I’ve never heard of the purple ones but they look great in your recipe!

  37. rsmacaalay says:

    That is a great soup! I thought it was black eyed peas at first glance, I never had heard of the purple variant.

  38. Being from the south I grew up on purple hull peas and have shelled more than my share. My mother bought them by the bushel and we sat around with newspapers in our lap and shelled until we reached the bottom. You can imagine how embarrassing it was as a teenage girl to have purple fingers, which is what you get from shelling them. I’ve never seen them since I left the south a zillion years ago. Would love to get my hands on some and make a batch of cornbread to go with them.

    This is my first visit and it was wonderful to see something that brought back memories of home this morning.

  39. SimpleP says:

    Looks like a great simple hearty meal. I don’t think we get the purple peas up here, but we do have a Wegman’s now, so might have to investigate.

  40. I never knew there was a purple hull pea..thanks for the info
    I love black eyed peas and here it is called Lobeh..we cook it here when its really tender and green (you don’t shuck them) with some chopped tomatoes , onions and top with some fried garlic one of my all time favorites

  41. I know I’m late with this one, but I just had to say thanks… Can’t get fresh purple-hulls up here, but your recipe and photos bring back some wonderful memories. I can almost smell my grandmother’s kitchen…

  42. ChgoJohn says:

    Purple hull peas are new to me but I love a good soup made with black-eyed peas. I’m going to look for ’em this weekend at the farmers’ markets. Thanks for the tip.

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  44. ....RaeDi says:

    I have not heard of them, but they sure look good and I will have a large glass of your tea, it looks gooooood…..RaeDi

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