Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas with pancetta and cacio e pepe a merging of two classics for a Southern dish with Italian flavors. These black eyed peas are the ultimate side dish for Sunday dinner or quick weeknight offering.
The inspiration behind this dish is just me pairing a few different things I love – black eyed peas, pancetta bacon, and Pecorino Romano. Though it was all born out of my desire to push the boundaries of “soul food” I wasn’t even sure these flavors would all come together and work well, but what the hell, no need for frantic moments. Worst case it would provide me an excuse to experiment with my Instant Pot.
Can you cook other beans in an instant pot?
Instant pot is the perfect vessel for cooking beans of any type. Black beans, red beans, lima beans, and white beans are all substitutable in this recipe. You will have to adjust the cook time depending on bean type. Black beans tend to get done a few minutes quicker. How long you cook is also a function of how you like your beans cooked. Creamy beans means longer cook times. This recipe produces black eyed peas that hold their form.
Should I use can or dried black eyed peas?
Most recipes for instant pot beans call for canned beans likely for their simplicity, i.e. you don’t to measure, rinse, or lookout for small stones. I prefer dried for several reasons – they’re a better value, you can control salt content, and they have a cleaner, vegetable tastes. Plus the cook time when using an instant pot is not much greater than canned.
How to flavor instant pot black eyed peas?
Traditional black eyed pea recipes call for slow cooking with smoked pork. For this recipe I used pancetta for some of that meaty pork flavor, but achieved the smokiness from some really good paprika. Onions, garlic, red peppers and fresh herbs contribute to the depth and complexity of the dish. Also, deglazing the pot with water and cider vinegar is what I’d call a sneaky good idea. To put this dish over the top add a cacio e pepe element.
What is pancetta?
Pancetta is essentially Italian bacon. It is cured pork cut from pork belly. Unlike bacon it is not smoked so there are subtle flavor differences. The absence of smoke in pancetta lets the pork flavor shine more which gives a dish a cleaner taste. Pancetta can be found in pretty much any grocery store. However, you’re more apt to find it in or near the deli section with other specialty cuts and cheese.
What is cacio e pepe?
Cacio e pepe, which means “cheese and pepper” is my favorite pasta dish. It’s crazy simple but so delicious. The key ingredients are heavy doses of black pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese. It’s a finishing touch in this dish. After plating the black eyed peas, grate fresh cheese and use a pepper mill for fresh cracked pepper taste.
Instant pot black eyed peas cooking tips
- Rinse and sort your dried beans to make sure no little pebbles are present
- Soaking the black eyed peas is unnecessary
- Follow the recipe exactly and saute the pancetta and vegetables first followed by the deglazing
- Be sure to allow pressure to fully release naturally, so that the beans absorb as much of the flavorful liquid as possible
- Make sure your pot is no more than half full.
Making Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas with Cacio e Pepe
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Instant Pot Black-eyed Peas with Cacio e Pepe and Pancetta Bacon
For the black eyed peas
- 4 slices pancetta bacon
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 cups dried black eyed peas
For the cacio e pepe
- Pecorino Romano grated
- Cracked pepper
- Turn the Instant Pot on "Saute" and heat the olive oil. Sauce the bacon 3-4 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic and red peppers and saute until tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add the smoked paprika, salt, and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Turn the Instant Pot off, and stir in the water and apple cider vinegar, then deglaze by using a wooden spoon to stir and scrape browned bits at bottom of the pot loose. Add thyme, bay leaf and any additional seasoning.
- Mix in black-eyed peas
- Lock the lid, and set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 20 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, quick release the pressure and carefully open the lid. Season the blacked peas with more salt and pepper sauce to taste. Stir to make sure the flavors are combined well. Let warm for 5-10 minutes or more before serving.
- Serve black-eyed peas in shallow bowls. Top each bowl with grated cheese and black pepper. Amounts depend on preference.
Use as much cheese and pepper as you prefer. Use a pepper mill for the black pepper if you have one, but certainly don’t purchase one just for this recipe. If using canned black-eyed peas reduce your cook time about 3-4 minutes.