Sunday, January 2, 2011

Black Eye Peas

Our Christmas tree is still up.  My grandmother and mother felt the tree had to be down before the first of the year.  I'm torn between their superstitions and my wish to brighten our home just a bit longer.  I decided that since January ~ bleak and cold and snowy ~ is my birthday month, I'm now calling it my birthday tree and I'll leave it up if I want to!!

On the positive side, we feasted on black-eyed (or, as I recently read, black-eye) peas on 1/1/11.  According to many, doing so will bring prosperity.  We'll see!

The first domestic use of the black-eyed peas was recorded in West Africa.  They found their way to Virginia in the mid-17th century and spread across the south rather quickly.  Many soul food recipes have been developed around this legume.  Here is my recipe.

Black-Eyed Peas in a slow cooker (serves 10)

6 cups chicken stock
16 ounce can diced tomatoes 
1 pound black-eyed peas (looked over and rinsed)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper. chopped
1 jalapeno, finely diced
8 ounces diced ham
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients into a slow cooker.  Start on high for 30 minutes.  Turn to low and simmer for 6 to 8 hours.