Around these parts, meaning the Southern states of the United States, black-eyed peas have got to be eaten on New Year’s Day to ensure prosperity and fortune.
The deal is that during the Civil War, mean old General Sherman came through the Confederacy and burned everything to the ground like a grouchy jerk. He was all like, “Make sure yous guys burn anything you can’t eat on the spot or jam into your grubby pockets.” But the legend is that the Union soldiers only ever ate green English peas and were thinking, “Surely these wretches can’t be eating black-eyed peas, fergodsake!” So they left the fields alone and after the smoke had cleared and the Confederate peoples came out to survey the damage, they saw that there were still lots and lots of black-eyed peas left to chow down on and that’s how they got to represent good luck.
I’m pretty sure it’s superstition, since by now I should be utterly swimming in gold coins and heating my personal blimp with a fireplace that runs exclusively on 100-dollar-bills. But… here I am instead typing on a 6-year-old laptop with a busted mousepad and wearing a blanket because I can’t afford to run the G.D. heater. So, basically, I’m saying don’t count on eating a bowl of peas to make you rich.
But they will fill your tummy with the warm goodness of a hearty reminder of olden days when men were men and women cooked blackeyed peas for them on New Year’s Day.
Black-Eyed Peas with Salt Pork
- 1 lb frozen blackeyed peas
- 4 oz (1/4 lb) salt pork or bacon, diced
- 1-2 jalapenos, minced
- 1 small tomato, diced (about ½ c)
- Fry the salt pork or bacon in a pot for about 4 minutes until some of the fat is rendered and it’s starting to crisp up.
- Add the peas and stir them around to coat in grease.
- Add the pepper and tomato.
- Add enough water to just cover the peas and slap a lid on that puppy.
- Bring to the boil, reduce heat, simmer 45 minutes.
- Serve with hot sauce. Them will be the best black-eyed peas you ever put in your mouf.
To Use Dried Peas: Follow the instructions above for 1 pound dried peas, but add twice as much water to cover the peas. Bring to boil, then simmer 1 1/2 hours until very tender and almost falling apart.
And here’s another delicious recipe for black-eyed peas that uses canned peas: Texas Caviar!