My mom’s from the south. My dad’s from the north. I grew up with both stuffing and cornbread dressing at holidays to appease the palettes of either pole. But come New Years Day, her southern menu was always on the table. My mom made pork, black-eyed peas, and broccoli casserole (in place of collard or turnip greens). This meal is said to bring health, luck, and prosperity. Maybe the lack of this meal has been your problem all these years? Kidding. I’m no poster child, but tradition keeps me making this menu, especially her black-eyed peas.
Texas, home to my immediately family the last 20 years, has gotten ahold of the original recipe passed down to her from her mom, Granny. It was as simple as peas, water, salt, and fat back. Now she adds plenty of salt and cumin, a little bit of chili powder, jalapeños, thinly sliced onion, and stock in place of water and fat back. But we still cook them the same way Granny did—tender, almost creamy, but not mushy. This makes them highly unphotogenic but perfect to the spoon. I could eat the whole pot.
Hallie helped drain, toss, and eat the soaked peas. I warned her, as I was taught, they’re no good without a long simmer and plenty of seasoning, but she had to try them for herself. That airborne pea below is best described as lesson learned.
Do you dare let tomorrow pass without a pot of my mom’s lucky black-eyed peas? With luck on your side or not, happy, happy New Year friends! Thanks for joining me in the space for the past 6 (!) years. Speaking of, I’m doing a survey to get a pulse on things. I’d love your feedback—good, bad, or otherwise. You can find it here. Many cheers and see you next year!
This recipe was told me as “add a little of this” and “a lot of that” and “cook until tender but not mushy”. Basically the best kind of recipe. I converted the original recipe to measurements in case mind reading isn’t your thing. Now, go enjoy eating luck. She’s mighty good.
1 lb of black-eyed peas, dried or fresh
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups water
2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
8–12 slices of jarred jalapeños
1/4 c. thinly sliced sweet onion
If using dried peas, soak overnight (12 hours). Drain before using.
Into a large stock pot, add fresh or prepared black-eyed peas, chicken stock, water, salt, cumin, chili powder, jalapeños, and onion.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary. Beans will be soft, almost creamy, but not mushy.
For a traditional southern new years menu, serve with pork and greens.
My mom says to add bacon to the pot for added flavor during the long simmer. I may be of the 1%, but I don’t care for bacon. We can still be friends, right?