Field Pea Gravy

Does anyone recognize this:


That is the king of potlikkers, field pea gravy!  The best field peas are the Dixie Lee variety - an heirloom cowpea, passed down for a few hundred years in the South.  When you cook fresh field peas (with green "snaps"), you boil them with pork seasoning (fatback, bacon grease, or even just lard) and salt.  At the bottom of the pot, once most of the peas have been eaten, is field pea gravy.  Just as fat, proteins and flavors from meat, when combined in a pan with flour and water form good brown gravy, so do the field peas.  In this bowl, you can see the fat glistening in the light.  With the fat and water, proteins and starch from the peas have combined to form one of the richest gravies imaginable.  With a couple of pieces of fried cornbread, it is a meal on its own.  Never throw away the potlikker from your beans or peas!  Not all can stand on their own as a gravy, but most can be part of a good pea or bean soup with the addition of some chicken broth, onions, etc.

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