Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Black-eyed Peas

Eating black-eyed peas for New Year’s has long been a Southern tradition. It signifies luck or prosperity, one of several New Year’s foods that are associated with good fortune.  So today to spread good fortune through out your year, I’m sharing a black-eyed pea recipes with you.

Simple Black-Eyed Pea Soup

1 bag of dried black-eyed peas
3 cups of water 
3 smoked ham hocks or a good big ham bone
Small pieces of salt pork (optional but true to the recipe)
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
Black pepper to taste
Salt, if needed (With ham taste test first.)

Soak your peas over night in plenty of water.  Rinse your black-eyed peas and pick through them for imperfections.

Chop your onion and garlic.  I like to put mine in my small food processor to avoid tears and make sure they are finely chopped.

Rinse ham hocks and place in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for an hour. Remove hocks from water, tasting the water to see if is salty enough on its own or if salt will need to be added.

Add the black-eyed peas. Add more water if there isn’t enough to cover the peas. Cut up the salt pork and add to the pot. Add onion, pepper, garlic, and salt if necessary.

After about 30 minutes, return the ham hocks back to the pot. Cook until tentder, continually checking the moisture, adding more water if necessary to keep it at a soup-like consistency.

Taste for seasonings and adjust as desired. Take meat off the hocks or ham bone and stir in.

Serves 10.  Serve with corn bread. 

Variation – You can add a spicy smoked sausage to the soup to replace the ham if you want a spicier soup.  To make it healthier, you can also chop some carrots or kale and add to the soup but this is suppose to be a poor man’s dish so don’t over do it.  You may also use chicken stock in place of water for more flavor.

Hoppin' John

Hoppin’ John  (black-eyed peas with rice) is also a traditional Southern New Year’s food. The idea is to eat poor on New Year’s Day and eat rich the rest of the year.  Rice for riches and peas for peace. 

2 cups black-eyed peas
2 cups rice
½ cup finely chopped scallions
2 ham hocks
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 ½ quarts of chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt (taste first)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

Soak your pea over night.  Make sure that you cover with plenty of water because the peas will double in size.  Drain and rinse them well.

Chop one onions and one tablespoon of garlic.  Again, I like to use my little food processor.

Add your ham hocks and sear in a pan with a little olive oil.  Add your onion and garlic and sauté for about 4 minutes.  Add 1 ½ quarts of chicken stock. Add your soaked drained peas, a bay leaf, 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.  Cook until the peas are tender.  Remove your bay leaf.  There should be some good gravy with the beans.  Add a little water or more broth if it becomes too dry.

Make plain white rice and pour your black-eyed peas over the cooked rice.  Read directions on the rice package on cooking. That is Hoppin’ John, a poor man’s supper.

You can garnish with chopped green onion or add grated Cheddar cheese when serving.

Serves 4 to 6 people.

I want to wish you a very Happy New Year.  May it be filled with all you need.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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