Friday, December 27, 2013

Black-Eyed Peas on New Year's Day

I hope you all have had a nice Christmas and are still in a holiday mode and mood.  I love preparing for Christmas and the new year.  Decorating and food preparation are, of course, high on the list of treasured activities.  I must admit there are times when I wish I could just curl up with a book or join my sisters in a board game while mother and nanny do all the festive preparations.  Those times are long gone but the sweet memories linger.  So do the memories of a few superstitions that those two sensible women harbored.  Broken mirrors could bring seven years of bad luck.  No walking under ladders!  Watch out for black cats crossing your path.  That always puzzled me as we had a black cat who must have constantly crossed all of our paths.  The only two warnings that have stayed with me through the years are taking the Christmas tree down before January 1 and serving black-eyed peas on New Year's day.  I solved the one by just calling it my birthday tree on that date and leave it up as long as I can get by with doing so.  Black-eyed peas are always on the table in some form on January 1.  Mother served them as a side-dish.  We prefer them "doctored" up a bit and served as a stew.  The first domestic use of the black-eyed pea 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 developed around this legume.  I don't remember the genesis of my recipe.  It has been added to through the years, the jalapenos being the latest item to go in the pot.  It is quite good with a side of cornbread.  





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.  Add more stock if necessary or if you like the dish a bit soupier.

ENJOY!

21 comments:

  1. Don't you love a good tradition? It sort of brings stability, as well as often a reminder of the past, such as your black eyed peas. I always thought serving them on New Years was a southern custom but I may be wrong.

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    1. It is a custom in the south--at least my part of the south.

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  2. Hattie had those same superstitions. Ronnie was afraid that she would cause a wreck when a black cat crossed in front of her when she was driving. She also believed that it was bad luck for a woman to come into your house first on New Years Day. She fed us black eyed peas on New Years Day but our son would hide them under other foods and then throw them away. It is okay to leave your tree up until Epithany.

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    1. I forgot about the importance of the first person to enter your home on New Year's Day should be a man! I wonder if any women were ever turned away?

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  3. Tradition is what it's all about and I like your thoughts with the Christmas tree. I love black-eyed peas, but am the only one here who does. So it's always roast pork and sauerkraut on New Years Day here. Happy New Year, Bonnie. May it be a happy healthy prosperous year for you and your family!

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  4. They must be good prepared like this..

    I was never aware of this tradition before blogging..

    Always fun and interesting to learn something new..:)

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  5. I am from Virginia and still eat canned black eyed peas which I love with a little bacon grease but this has to be so much better still! Will print out when we get the new printer hooked up!

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  6. Pork and sauerkraut are the good luck New Year tradition with my family. Why, I wonder. But with most superstitions, you don't ask why, you just do. Because what would happen if you didn't?

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  7. Sounds like a nice hearty meal to start the year off right:@)

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  8. We always have some form of black-eyed peas for new years. And cornbread only makes it better :) I think I'll give yours a try this year, but no slow-cooker, so I'll have to do it the old fashioned way.
    Sam

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  9. in georgia it was greens and black eyed peas for good luck and properity...happy new year!

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  10. We always have Black-Eyed Peas on New Year's Day. BUT--we have a casserole dish called Hoppin' John--which includes the peas, rice, kielbasa, ham, bacon, onions, seasonings, etc... It's SO good... (But my kids aren't crazy about it. They put hot sauce on theirs to spice it up even more!!!! ha)

    Happy New Year.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  11. Everyone seems to have had a nice Christmas! I am glad that it is over though, and we can get some order back into our lives. We eat black eyed peas no New Years too!!! You must!!!
    xo Kris

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  12. My Aunt Esther *always* prepared black eyed peas, collards and pig trotters on New Year's Day. I continue the tradition but I give the trotters to my dogs. They enjoy them far more than I.

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  13. It is a huge tradition in the south, I had never heard of it till I moved here from up north. Yours looks good. Now let me ask you, do you only eat them only this one time a year, or make them at other times?

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    1. Ginny: We only have them at New Year's and I don't know why because we like them.

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  14. Hope you had a lovely and nice Christmas!!

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  15. Yum. I love black-eyed peas -- they are perhaps the only remnant of my southern genes to survive!

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  16. I've never done that -- the black eyed pea thing! But these DO look good!

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  17. Having black-eyed peas on New Years Day is a tradition that we have observed for many years. I hope 2014 proves to be a good year for you and yours.

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  18. Bonnie, these sound delicious. I hope you and the Baker are warm and dry. The photos I've seen of the storm are fierce. There are many things I miss about Chicago, but the weather has never been one of them. Why not mull some cider and enjoy it by the fire? Happy New Year...Mary

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