Black-eyed peas symbolize good luck and prosperity. Some believe that the black-eyed peas represent the “coins,” while the winter greens they’re often served with represent the “dollars.” Eating them together on New Year’s Day is supposed to guarantee many of both in the year to come. From cookthink.
My family has followed this tradition for as long as I can remember. We do it more out of an abundance of caution to protect and ensure our luck in the new year, than any real belief in the lore behind the tradition. As you might expect, we’re defintiely not purists who only eat the peas with greens and only after they’re cooked with a hamhock.
Our family tradition involves a steaming pot of the soup below served with warm cornbread smothered with butter and honey. I’ve also included a new edition to our tradition, which is unlikely to ever replace the soup, but may supplement our black-eyed pea intake on years where we fill we need an extra boost of good luck. It goes well with tortilla chips and a day of lingering on the couch watching football!
You can substitute dried beans in any of the recipes below, but I’m assuming that you’ve been busy over the holidays and that you may still be in an after-holiday-haze when preparing these recipes so I’ve only provided canned and frozen black-eyed pea options. Here’s some additional information about the tradition from Texas A&M university, but apparently this tradition isn’t just limited to the south…
What will you be doing on the first day of 2010? Do you have any special family traditions to ring in the new year?
Black-Eyed Pea Soup
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 (10 oz) packages frozen black-eyed peas
1 cup chopped onion
2 quarts chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried whole oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried whole thyme
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 cups chopped, cooked turkey breast (smoked turkey can be used too)
Combine first 11 ingredients in a large Dutch oven. Bring ot a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Stir in carrots, celery, green pepper, and parsley; simmer 30 minutes. Add turkey; simmer 30 minutes or until vegetable are tender. Ladle into serving bowls. Yield: 3 quarts (131 calories per 1 cup serving). Source unknown.
Spicy Black-Eye Pea Dip
1 (10 oz) can or frozen black-eyed peas
1/2 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (4 oz) can of spicy green chilies (or the equivlanet of 1 roasted poblano pepper coarsley chopped)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (8 oz) container of reduced fat sour-cream
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth. Add sour cream; process until blended. Stir in green onions. Sppon mixture into a 9-inch pie plate or shallow 1-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Spinkle with cilantro. Yield: 12 servings (89 calories per 1/3 cup serving). From Cooking Light, December 2007.