New Year’s Lucky Black Eyed Peas
Happy New Year! One of my favorite adopted holiday customs is the Southern tradition of black-eyed peas and seasoned greens on New Year’s Day. Peas for luck, and greens for riches. Also, the fiber and vitamins are a welcome end to weeks of living on cookies and cheese balls.
I’ve been faithfully making Laurie Smithwick‘s family recipe for collard greens since I met her in 2006 (there is no better) but the black-eyed peas are usually an improvisation. This year, I couldn’t decide between Laura Mayes’ recipe for Rockin’ New Years Peas and Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Hoppin’ John, so I threw them together in my crockpot where they made a scrumptious love child. See? Luck is on my side already.
We ate them while watching Groundhog Day on Netflix, also a welcome shift from holiday fare (the kids loved it). Our tree will probably stay up until Old Christmas Day on the sixth, but this yuletide feels done.
Here’s the recipe mash-up for you to try next year (or maybe just next Sunday dinner). May 2013 be full of rich experiences and happy ventures.
1 small bag dried black-eyed peas
4-6 strips thick sliced bacon, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
one medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chicken base or bouillon
kosher salt to taste
Cover dried peas in cold water and soak overnight.
Drain and rinse soaked peas. Fry chopped bacon in large dutch oven until cooked, but not crisp. Remove and set aside, leaving drippings in pan. Saute onion in bacon drippings until tender, then add diced celery, pepper and garlic. Saute several more minutes until all vegetables are tender. Return bacon to pan, along with peas. Add six cups water, 1 T worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp concentrated chicken base or bouillon, and bring to boil. Cover and turn heat to low, or transfer to crockpot set on high, and simmer for 2-3 hours, or until peas are tender. Taste for salt and adjust (I added 1 T. kosher salt) before serving.
Serve over rice with plenty of vinegar pepper sauce (in case you don’t live in a place where this is a grocery store staple, Laurie includes a D-I-Y version with her collard greens recipe).
My Southern born and bred husband says each black-eyed pea eaten on New Year’s Day brings one day of luck, so eat up!