Black-Eyed Pea Cassoulet

By • December 28, 2009 • 64 Comments

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Author Notes: I had this dish as a side to a wonderful pork chop in a restaurant in Greenville, SC, and decided then and there it would be my New Year's treatment for black-eyed peas. It's wonderfully simple, wonderfully savory, and the breadcrumbs add a texture element that's just....different!Kayb

Food52 Review: WHO: Kayb is a businesswoman, a traveller, and an avid cook.
WHAT: A deeply savory and delightfully simple cassoulet.
HOW: Simmer onions, tomatoes, sausage, and spices together, add the cooked black eyed peas, top with breadcrumbs, and bake.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This cassoulet is a study in textures: deep and rich, silky, hearty, and crunchy all at once. We'd gladly eat this for a lucky New Year -- and all winter long.
The Editors

Serves 8

  • 1 pound dry black-eyed peas
  • 8 ounces smoked sausage
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (15-oz)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • olive oil
  1. Rinse and sort peas, and cook in salted water until just tender. Drain.
  2. While peas are cooking, saute diced onion in olive oil in an iron skillet or other ovenproof skillet until soft; add finely minced garlic and saute for another minute. Add tomatoes, diced smoked sausage, and smoked paprika, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add drained peas to tomatoes, and stir to combine. Preheat oven to 400.
  4. Melt butter and combine with breadcrumbs; sprinkle over top of peas and tomato mixture in skillet and transfer to oven.
  5. Bake at 400 until breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Tags: autumn, beans, black eyed peas, fall, New Year's, winter

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Comments (64) Questions (1)

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4 months ago duckfat

Jane, sorry I can't seem to answer your post right at the site but Ian's is actually called Panko and is made from rice flour. It really fills in for bread crumbs. Hope you find this and it helps!

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5 months ago Janne Brorup Weston

So my husband loved the dish but gently suggested I stick it in the slow cooker for a few hours. I soaked the BA peas, then cooked them to al dente and that is as far as they got. It would definitely be better if they were softer. I bet like many soups it will benefit from sitting overnight. There is a LOT of it for two people - does it freeze?

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

5 months ago Kayb

Never tried to freeze, but I'd think it should work. I ate the last of mine for lunch yesterday. Kinda surprised your black eyed peas didn't get tender! I have cooked mine in the slow cooker and left off the baking step. Adding the celery would be fine -- I don't because I don't like celery. And I see no reason why any kind of diced tomatoes, with or without tomato paste, shouldn't work.

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5 months ago Janne Brorup Weston

I think my beans were really old, for one thing. And I was paranoid they would do the one minute I am firm, the next I am mush thing so I might have been able to give them 5-10 minutes more cooking time. How long does it bake when it has bread crumbs? It's fantastic basic recipe, thank you

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5 months ago Jonathan

I soaked the beans, cooked the sausage to get a nice brown on it. And being from South Carolina myself, I wanted a more hop'n Johnesque flavor so I added celery, red bell pepper, and a jalapeno to go along with the onion.

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

5 months ago Kayb

That's the beauty of this dish. It lends itself to whatever spin you want to put on it. For the original, I was trying to recreate the taste of the restaurant version I had had. This year's were closer to the Gulf Coast red beans and rice recipe.

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5 months ago Janne Brorup Weston

I am staring at it now and it is screaming CELERY at me, but I am too far in to add it now ... I did add a couple pieces of lemon rind and some cracked pepper and thyme. A chile sounds perfect!
My diced tomatoes were really thick, must be some tomato paste in them. IS that all right?

589a1247-d64b-417b-825c-7ea7afe1db3b.stringio

5 months ago robin lewis

P.S. My daughter and I loved this. I made the recipe verbatim. (I was worried about no soaking, as well as cooking dried beans with salt. I had nothing to worry about) It was so so delicious. I would have taken a picture of my pot to share, but the two included here are really perfect. Thank you! (Next time I may try the kale, per the comment below, but tonite I was so thrilled that it all came together I forgot to add the kale.)

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

5 months ago Kayb

So glad you enjoyed! I was lazy; I made mine in the slow cooker and didn't even bake it with the bread crumb topping this year. Still awfully good.

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5 months ago aimeebama

Tremendous hit. Will make again and again. We folded in kale right before topping with breadcrumbs. Great shot of colour and flavour from the greens.

589a1247-d64b-417b-825c-7ea7afe1db3b.stringio

5 months ago robin lewis

i'm just cooking the black eyed peas now, to make this cassoulet tonight. did you follow the directions exactly, i.e. cook the dried beans in salted water? (that's what i'm doing, tho i'm worried that the salt will toughen the beans b/c it seems i've read that warning from various sources...) i like the kale idea, too, and am going to try that.

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

5 months ago Kayb

Yes, Kale would be good!

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5 months ago Janne Brorup Weston

I always soak beans and peas for at least 8-24 hours usually in salted water or whey to make them more bio-available and digestible.

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5 months ago Janne Brorup Weston

PS - and throw out the soaking water before using :-)

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

5 months ago Kayb

I do for all dried beans and legumes with the exception of black eyed peas and lentils. I find they get mushy. Doesn't hurt the taste, though. If you prefer to soak, go ahead, but I'd hold it to two-three hours.

D3856a5d-33c7-4a88-8fab-fb70c4011afb.open-uri.17570

5 months ago Janne Brorup Weston

To break down the phytic acid in the legumes I think you have to soak at least 8 hours. I will try to research that ....

D3856a5d-33c7-4a88-8fab-fb70c4011afb.open-uri.17570

5 months ago Janne Brorup Weston

It is true I don't soak lentils.

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5 months ago robin lewis

No need to soak the black-eyed peas overnight?

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

5 months ago Kayb

No. They cook quickly enough and will hold their shape better if you don't.

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5 months ago Janne Brorup Weston

I am more or less grain-free and I don't eat cereals or packaged GF products. I have used rice bread crumbs in the past but there are too many artificial ingredients in them.

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

5 months ago Kayb

Ah. I see. I'd probably just leave the topping off. Afraid the parmesan might add too much of a different taste.

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

5 months ago Kayb

A coarse almond meal might work.....

D3856a5d-33c7-4a88-8fab-fb70c4011afb.open-uri.17570

5 months ago Janne Brorup Weston

I have used Almond meal before - it gets soggy , not crispy, and it burns fast. I will put it together and see what I think and then maybe add the cheese. I am Danish, and that means I believe cheese can fix almost everything LOL. Actually duck confit might be good - oh dear that means a duck, right?

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5 months ago Janne Brorup Weston

Will this recipe work with grated cheese instead of bread crumbs? I am grain-free

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

5 months ago Kayb

H'mm. Interesting thought. Grated Parmigiano should do OK, but it'll add a flavor element that might or might not work. You can leave it off entirely.

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

5 months ago Kayb

And are you grain-free or just gluten free? I use crushed rice chex all the time in place of bread crumbs, because I have a daughter with celiac.

Eb515e78-7387-4e72-b91d-acfa26b55b99.default-full

4 months ago duckfat

For gluten free there's Ian's Gluten Free Breadcrumbs. I use it all the time and it comes out nice and crispy.

D3856a5d-33c7-4a88-8fab-fb70c4011afb.open-uri.17570

4 months ago Janne Brorup Weston

What are the ingredients in Ian's Bread Crumbs? I don't do potato, rice, tapioca, any of those starches

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5 months ago Heleen

Can't wait to make this. I am going to use a non-stick through step 3 and then will transfer it all to a cast iron because, like irishchef, I don't cook tomatoes in cast iron either.

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

5 months ago Kayb

I guess it's because there's a relatively low percentage of tomatoes in the dish that it's never posed a problem for me.

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5 months ago Heleen

Oh okay. I do get hung up on those things. Thanks!

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5 months ago Janne Brorup Weston

I used my Le Creuset skillet which is enamel on the inside but it is too small to hold everything so will transfer to Pyrex.

E5bbcad6-ff06-4489-b0f3-997a70444c62.frodo

over 1 year ago Caroline Scriven

very nice I enjoyed it!

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over 1 year ago Briana

I made this last night to take to a New Year's Eve dinner party. I was so lovely and even more soul satisfying the next day.

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over 1 year ago Tamme Booth

Help! I can't seem to "pin" this recipe. I definitely want to save it and try it this Fall....

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over 1 year ago irishchef

Tomatoes in a cast iron pan? I don't think so.

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over 1 year ago roryrabbitfield

If you wanted to make this vegetarian, what could you substitute in for the sausage to keep it savory and rich?

Ad89c38b-417e-4f3b-820c-d57e4f338fb8.stringio

over 1 year ago msigur

I use cremini mushrooms in place of the sausage.

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over 2 years ago baconb

I made this last night and both my husband and I really enjoyed it. Thank you for a wonderful and imaginative recipe!

E026ce6f-d104-4a01-8974-272cb24b60cd.lil_piggy

over 2 years ago DanaYares

I made this and it was great! I didn't have any sausage on hand so I used leftover lamb roast from last night along with some rabbit. Added some thyme and marjoram, a couple dashes of hot sauce and my canned roasted tomatoes from the summer harvest. DELICIOUS!

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

over 2 years ago Kayb

Oomph. Lamb and rabbit. THAT hasmy wheels turning! Love it when people use recipes as a starting point and carry it forward from there!

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Made this dish over the weekend and we all loved it. I'm amazed at the depth of flavor from just a few ingredients. I used canned black eye peas (2 15-oz cans seemed just right) and turkey kielbasa, and I added some sherry vinegar to taste. Really lovely (and easy!) dish -- congrats again on your well-deserved WC win.

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

over 2 years ago Kayb

Glad you enjoyed!

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

over 2 years ago Kayb

For what it's worth, you can do a Middle Eastern slant on this by using chickpeas instead of black eyed peas, and using gyro meat or ground lamb browned with cumin and coriander. It finishes up about the same way.

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over 2 years ago Gluttonforacause

This was fantastic! Both smoked andouille sausage and linguica worked great. It also freezes very well for an impromptu dinner and makes you happy when you're out of groceries and have resigned yourself to takeout.

B0f2c3df-9bf7-43fc-8544-eb75ba85a60e.kay_at_lake

over 2 years ago Kayb

Glad you enjoyed it! I love it because I can make it ahead, then just add the bread crumbs and bake at the last minute.