Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Black-eyed Peas for Luck

On New Year's Day, we always have black-eyed peas for luck and cabbage for money in the upcoming year. One year I cooked my peas and cabbage over a camp fire in Ocala National Forest. More recently, I hosted a group of my friends from the lake for a New Year's Day lunch. One of them is a hater (you know who you are!) and I am afraid I did not make a convert out of her. But one of my other guests texted me a few days before this New Year's and asked for the recipe. For future years (or anytime you want to enjoy some really tasty black-eyed peas), here it is.

Black-eyed Peas

  • 2 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carton (4 cups) chicken broth
  • 1 pound of dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 ham hocks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • dash of hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cover the peas with water and soak overnight. Drain and discard the soaking water.
  2. Cook the bacon in a dutch-oven over medium heat until it has rendered some fat, then add the onion and garlic and saute until softened.
  3. Add the peas, then enough chicken broth to cover the peas. Add the ham hocks, bay leaves and hot sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 2-3 hours, adding broth as needed, until soft or the desired consistency is reached.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I cook fresh peas this way in the summer, but those do not need the overnight soak. In the past, I've bought fresh peas for New Year's, but this year couldn't find any in lower Alabama where we were staying. What I learned is that the dried peas are way cheaper than fresh in late December and turn out just as well!

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