A classic Southern dish to celebrate New Year's. The black-eyed peas are for good fortune in the coming year.
Note that many things may affect the cooking times of the peas. They could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to cook to tenderness, depending on their age, where they were grown, the water you are using.
- 1/3 pound bacon, or 1 ham hock plus 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 small green pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas, about 2 cups
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 heaping teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 2 cups long-grain rice
- Scallions or green onions for garnish
1 If you are using bacon, cut it into small pieces and cook it slowly in a medium pot over medium-low heat. If you are using a ham hock, heat the oil in the pot. Once the bacon is crispy (or the oil is hot), increase the heat to medium-high and add the celery, onion, and green pepper and sauté until they begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir well and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
2 Add the black-eyed peas, bay leaf, thyme and Cajun seasoning and cover with 4 cups of water. If you are using the ham hock, add it to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes to an hour, or longer if needed, until the peas are tender (not mushy).
3 While the black-eyed peas are cooking, cook the rice separately according to package instructions.
4 When the peas are tender, strain out the remaining cooking water. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste the peas for salt and add more if needed. If using a ham hock, remove it from the pot, pull off the meat, and return the meat to the pot.
Serve the dish either by placing a ladle-full of black-eyed peas over steamed rice, or by mixing the two together in a large bowl. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve with collard greens, kale, beet or turnip greens.
Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side dish