I haven't had time for a cooking post the past two weeks with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but I thought today would be perfect for a post on the southern custom of eating black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year's Day.
Now, I grew up in the northeast (Rochester, NY), and we didn't eat anything special on New Year's Day. In fact, every year, we went to a party at a friend's house on January 1. When I married a guy from Oklahoma, I discovered that southerners have a tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day - it's supposed to bring good luck for the new year. I had never eaten a black-eyed pea in my life up to that point, but I was up for joining in this food-based tradition!
Over the years, it has become tradition in our family for me to make Hoppin' John, a dish of black-eyed peas and rice, each year for New Year's Day. All of us - including our two teen boys - love this meal! We are usually visiting my father-in-law in Oklahoma at this time of year, so I make it for him, too. Sometimes, as is the case this year, we will be back home by January 1, so I plan to make Hoppin' John tonight so that my father-in-law can have good luck left-overs on New Year's Day. We will just make do with getting our good luck a bit early.
My recipe for Hoppin' John is listed below. Do you have any food traditions for New Year's Eve or New Year's Day?
(Black-eyed Peas & Rice)
1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas
6 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 tsp. oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. thyme
ground pepper, salt, and Tobasco to taste
1 cup cooked ham, diced
Wash black-eyed peas and add to Dutch Oven with water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 35 minutes.
Heat oil in skillet and sauté onion, green pepper, and garlic until soft. Remove from heat and add to cooked peas and remaining liquid.
Add rice and seasonings. Cover and simmer on medium-low for an additional 15 minutes. Add ham and cook an additional 10 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
Remove bay leaf and serve with Tobasco.