It is tradition in the South to eat black-eyed peas (or Hoppin’ John) on New Year’s Day for good luck. This ranks right up there with painting porch ceilings haint blue to ward off evil spirits in terms of superstitions down here.
I cook them every year and force them on everyone else. I have long since learned that the only good bowl of black-eyed peas is stewed with bacon or salt pork. If you eat them by themselves – well, as Elise puts it – they kind of taste like dirt. I like to eat them with chow chow relish to kick things up a bit, which you can make at home or buy at Southern grocery store chains.
Anyhow, I thought I would share the recipe I am going to try this year from the website Immaculate Bites, which has African/Caribbean recipes. Like Southern rice varieties and sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas came to the South from Africa. I love African cooking, so discovering this website has been a real treat.
- 1 pound (453grams) black eyed peas
- 4 -5 thick bacon slices , chopped
- 1 cup smoked sausage or turkey , diced
- 1 large onion , diced
- 1 stalk celery , diced
- 2-3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 Jalapenos , minced (optional) replace with cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme , minced
- bay leaf
- 1-2 teaspoons creole seasoning
- 7-8 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups or more Collard greens , sub with kale
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse dry black-eyed pea beans and pick through and discard any foreign object. (I did not have to do this because I used the package beans,). Add beans to a large pot covering with 3-4 inches of cold water. Cover and let sit for about 2-3 hours.
- In a large, heavy sauté pan, saute chopped bacon until brown and crispy about 4-5 minutes, then add sausage saute for about 2-3 more minutes. Remove bacon and sausage mixture, set aside.
- Throw in the onions, celery, garlic, jalapenos, thyme and bay leaf and saute for about 3-5 minutes, until onions are wilted and aromatic.
- Then pour in the chicken broth or water.
- Drain the soaked beans, rinse, and place the beans in the pot. Season with creole seasoning and salt to taste. Mix and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
- Throw in the collard greens, and bacon and sausage into the pot, continue cooking for another 10 minutes or more, stirring occasionally, or until beans are tender and slightly thickened to your desire.
- Add more stock or water if the mixture becomes dry and thick, the texture of the beans should be thick, somewhat creamy but not watery.
- Remove the bay leaves.
- Taste and adjust for seasonings with pepper, creole seasoning and salt if needed. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with green onion.