Sapelo Island Red Peas and Rice with Smoked Turkey

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The Sapelo Island Red Peas


The Sapelo Island Red Peas have a long history as a staple ingredient in the island diet.  Residents have grown red peas in their gardens for generations.  The Sapelo Island red peas came over on the slave ships and were planted twice a year, harvested, dried, cooked with rice. Enough peas to plant the next harvest were always saved for the next crop.  Today, the residents of Sapelo Island continue to plant, harvest, dry, cook and plant again, these ruby red delicious peas. Chefs have discovered them and are creating tasty recipes included periodically on their menu.  The peas are a rare ingredient, so when you see them on a menu, order the dish.  Next time they may not be there.  And, if you can get your hands on a sack of the dried peas, try a recipe yourself.  Here’s one I love.

Sapelo Island Geechee
Red Peas and Rice with Smoked Turkey

The Sapelo Island Red Peas and Rice with Smoked Turkey

2 cups of white or brown rice
Half a cup of Sapelo Red Peas
Four cups of turkey stock
Two teaspoons of garlic powder
Two cups of cooked chopped turkey
Two tablespoons of butter
Salt and black pepper to taste

Soak peas overnight and drain off excess water
Place turkey stock, peas and garlic powder in a medium pot with lid
and cook until peas are tender
Add rice, butter and turkey meat and cook with lid
until rice is tender
Season with salt and pepper


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