Aunt Suzy says . . .

Years ago I learned about securing good fortune and prosperity for the coming year by what you eat on New Year’s Day – specifically black-eyed peas, cooked greens and cornbread.  This good luck menu is from the Southern U. S., although I have learned from Wikipedia that eating black-eyed peas for New Year’s can be traced back to ancient times as a Jewish tradition on Rosh Hashana.  The significance of each item as I learned it, although there are many interpretations – all for good luck or good fortune:

Black-eyed peas – one day of good luck for each pea eaten

Collard greens – green for money/prosperity

Corn bread – for gold in your pocket

Some people add pork to the menu for living “high off the hog”.  Following is a recipe for the way we make black-eyed peas for New Year’s.  For some reason, we always do a vegetarian version for this occasion.  We also have recipes on the blog for black-eyeds with sausagegreens and corn bread.  Happy New Year and wishing you much luck and prosperity!

New Year’s Day Black-eyed Peas

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, diced

1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced

1 small or 1/2 large green bell pepper, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups dried black-eyed peas

4-5 cups liquid*

2 bay leaves

1-2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 chipote pepper in adobo, rinsed and minced (optional)

1-2 dried red pepper pods (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste.

Lightly coat a large dutch oven or soup pot with the vegetable oil (I use canola).  Saute the onion and bell peppers for about 3 minutes until beginning to soften.  Add the garlic and saute another minute until fragrant. If using the chipotle pepper (for smokiness and heat), add at the same time as the garlic.

Add the *liquid.  For vegetarian use water, water with mock chicken broth powder or Better than Boullion (our favorite) or vegetable broth.  Or you can use chicken stock for the liquid.  Rinse and pick over the black-eyed peas and then add to the pot.  Add the bay leaves, thyme and red pepper pods, if using, then salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 45 -75 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on many things.  Check after 30 minutes to test degree of doneness, then every 15 minutes thereafter. They should be firm and creamy but not falling apart.  Serve on their own or over rice.