Every New Year’s Day since I can remember I have had Black Eyed Peas for New Year’s Day Dinner. Not just Black Eyed Peas, but Black Eyed Peas with corn bread, ham, relish, onions…..the whole magilla.
In fact, I love Black Eyed Peas so much I’m going to capitalize them today.
My Grandma W. was from Kentucky. While that isn’t as south as some states, it is south enough and Black Eyed Peas are a proud Southern tradition. Grandma made Black Eyed Peas, my Mom made Black Eyed Peas and my Aunt M. made Black Eyed Peas. In fact, Black Eyed Peas are not only a southern tradition (going back some 300 years) but a family tradition as well.
The story goes that these legendary legumes bring luck and prosperity for the New Year.
My Mom always told us that we would get an extra dollar for each individual pea we ate.
That was all I needed to hear….
My mom’s recipe was pretty simple. She soaked the peas over night, rinsed them and then cooked them with salt pork. They were good, and I always ate plenty of them, but when I began making my own Black Eyed Peas, I took a few liberties.
The new recipe is a family favorite, and because I want you to have a prosperous year, I am going to share the recipe with you. I am firmly convinced that it will be okay for you to eat (and get the benefit from) the peas even if it isn’t New Year’s Day. After all, Samoa skipped Friday this year so they could leap across the International Date Line. Having Black Eyed Peas after New Year’s Day is small potatoes compared to skipping a day. Right?
Let’s hear it for the Pea (by the way…it’s a bean).
Black Eyed Peas
- 1 lb (generally 1 bag) dried Black Eyed Peas
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 each dried red pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 lb salt pork
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil (or Canola Oil)
- 1 can beer (I use Guinness)
- 1 large can (24 oz) diced or crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp dried or fresh oregano
- Wash and sort the Black Eyed Peas.
- (The quality of Black Eyed Peas has improved over the years. Years ago, you needed to really pick through the peas to pull out "stones" and ugly peas).
- In a large pot, put the Black Eyed Peas and a can of beer in the pot. The peas should be covered by at least 1/2 inch of liquid, so add water if you need more liquid.
- By the way, although the beer does add flavor, if you prefer not to use beer, you can use water or even chicken stock instead.
- Let the peas soak for 6 - 8 hours
- If you want to speed up this process, you can put the peas in a pan with water (6 to 8 cups). Bring to a rapid boil on medium high heat. Boil 2 more minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 2 hours.
- Which ever method you use, wash and rinse the Black Eyed Peas after they have soaked. Do not save the liquid and be careful not to squash the peas or pull the skin off.
- (They won't look as pretty and may be a little mushy).
- Black Eyed Peas. Before and after (I sort of feel the same way after the Holidays....)
- Chop 1 large onion, 2 stalks of celery and 2 - 3 cloves of garlic.
- Put the onions, celery and garlic in a large pan with the olive oil and sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add Black Eyed Peas
- Just look at all that money....
- Add diced tomatoes including juice.
- Add salt, pepper, oregano and dried red pepper.
- Add salt pork.
- Once again, you will want to add some liquid (water, chicken stock or even more beer) to make sure the peas are covered.
- Stir it all together, and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
- Serve with corn bread, diced onions and relish.