Each New Year's Day, my Texan grandma Lynette made us eat one Black Eyed Pea each for each year we had been alive, for luck and properity for the new year. I couldn't stand the way they tasted. So, as an adult I searched for different recipies, to not only continue the tradition, but to enjoy it as well. I found the Hoppin' John Stew recipie from IbelieveIcanfry.com. Along with my family tradition, this adds even more yummy goodness for prosperity and luck. Happy New Year everyone!
Traditionally, in the South, you HAVE to eat pork, black-eyed peas and collard greens for a good year. The peas (which are actually technically a bean) represent coins, and the collard greens represent paper money. Cornbread always appears with beans & greens, and is often said to represent gold."
I like to prepare my black-eyed peas and collard greens just before bed on New Years Eve; I use a large slow cooker, adding smoked sausage as my pork. Nothing beats waking up on New Years Day to a house smelling of collards and peas, and having a hearty meal ready to serve.
Slow-Cooker Black-Eyed Peas & Collard Greens
1 lb dried black-eyed peas
1 large bunch collard greens, trimmed and cut into pieces
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into rounds
4 cups (1 quart) chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
First and foremost, sort and soak your black-eyed peas. Since I'm using a large slow cooker with a removable crock, I soak my peas in it. Just cover the peas with several inches of cold water, and let soak 8 hours or more. Since I prepare this meal just before bed, I soak my peas for 8 hours prior to cooking. .
Use a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. If you do not have a large slow cooker, simply reduce the recipe.
After soaking, drain and rinse the peas and return them to the slow cooker. Prepare your onion, celery and bell pepper; add to the slow cooker.
Slice your smoked sausage into rounds and add it to the slow cooker. If you don't want to use smoked sausage, you can substitute a ham hock, leftover Christmas ham, or even a ham steak, cut into pieces.
(I use Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage, it's amazing)
Next, add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, salt and pepper.
It may seem there is not much room left for the collards! Trim your collard greens; remove the thick stem from the center, and cut the greens into squares. Wash, drain and add to the slow cooker; these will wilt down considerably when cooking, so don't worry about the slow cooker being filled to the brim. (Do NOT put the stems in the garbage disposal. Trust me on this one).
Cover the slow cooker and set the timer (if your slow cooker has one) to LOW for 8-12 hours. I find that 10 hours is just the right amount of time to cook everything without it becoming mushy.
Once cooked, the peas and greens can be kept warm in the slow cooker all day. If desired, you can serve this (and the pot likker) over cooked rice. I prefer a simple skillet cornbread instead.
Jessi Pagel is a makeup and hair artist working in commercial, lifestyle, corporate, editorial, tv and live events. This blog has everything from how-to's to the adventures of her life and works in progress.