White acre peas, also referred to as lady peas, have a soft texture and taste mildly redolent of black-eyed peas, a genetic relation. White acre peas are indigenous to the American South, as well as its cuisine. A common side dish in Southern cooking, white acre peas are traditionally served alongside such regional staples as cornbread and collard greens. Many white acre pea preparations use rendered bacon fat as a flavoring element. However, other fats, such as olive oil, create the same creamy texture as bacon fat with less dietary implications.
Rinse 1 qt. of shelled white acre peas and reserve. Add 2 cups of chicken broth, 2/3 cup of rendered bacon fat, 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. of white granulated sugar to a stock pot, cover and bring to boil. Add 4 cups of chicken broth to a saucepan and set over medium heat.
Add the rinsed and shelled white acre peas to the stock pot and return to a boil. Add 1/4 tsp. of baking soda to the pot, adjust the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until the peas are al dente. White acre peas, like other legumes, have a mildly firm outside that yields to a creamy interior when cooked to al dente.
Add the hot chicken broth as needed throughout cooking. Finish the white acre peas to taste with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and fresh herbs. Herbs commonly used with white acre peas include curly parsley, rosemary and thyme.