Reezy-Peezy (Sea Island Red Peas)

A bowl of reezy-peezy served over brown rice
Image by Paprika Southern

“Most folks know about hoppin’ john, the fabled New Year’s Day dish on many a Southern table. That dish, just like the song “Kumbaya,” has its origins among the Gullah Geechee, who planted the peas and rice as subsistence food from beans and seeds carried with them from Africa. We call it Reezy-Peezy and make it year-round. It’s hearty enough to serve as a main dish—or serve over a bowl of Jupiter brown rice.”

Matthew Raiford, excerpted from Bress ‘N’ Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth-Generation Farmer.

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Serves 8

  • 1¼ pounds Sea Island red peas, covered with water and soaked overnight in the refrigerator
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled, cut through root
  • end with layers left intact
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 small inner celery ribs, leaves attached,
  • roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small turkish bay leaf
  • 1½ teaspoons curry powder
  • A healthy pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Drain peas and set aside. In a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot, bring 1 gallon water to a simmer over mediumhigh heat. Stir in peas, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and curry powder. Return liquid to a simmer, and then reduce heat to low. Cover pan partially and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender, approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
  2. Remove and discard vegetables and bay leaf. Season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Remove 4 cups of peas and broth and puree them in a separate bowl with an immersion blender. Return puree to pot with peas (alternately, you can mash a quarter of the peas in the pot with a potato masher). If gravy is too thick, thin it with a bit of warm water or vegetable stock. Then cook again until just heated through. Taste for seasoning.
  • Adapted From
    Bress 'N' Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth-Generation Farmer. Copyright by Matthew Raiford and Amy Paige Condon, 2021. Used with permission of the publisher, Countryman Press. All rights reserved.
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  • Mark Duffield
    November 13, 2023 at 7:49 pm

    Excellent recipe! Instead of just water, I added Better Than Boullion Roasted Garlic. Also, I would reduce the water to 3 quarts next time. One Gallon is way too much water. Also, we used Lemon Curry powder because it was what we had. I would double the amount.


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