According to an old Southern adage, cornbread, collards, and peas with black eyes will make your New Year healthy, wealthy, and wise. Just in case this might be true, we decided to share our favorite recipe for black eyed peas. Make a big, hearty pot on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, serve with collards and cornbread, and let’s see if we can make that adage ring true for 2017!
Soak black eyed peas overnight (or a minimum of 8 hours), drain, and rinse. In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the bacon until just crisp. Remove bacon and set aside, leaving bacon drippings in the pot. If using a ham hock, skip that step and simply heat 2 T of oil in the pot, then add onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to turn clear, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute, or so. Add the black eyed peas and enough water or stock to cover the peas in 1″ of liquid. If using the smoked hock, add it now. Add the bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and a generous sprinkle of salt & fresh black pepper. Bring to a boil, the reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water or stock as needed to keep the peas just covered. Once the peas are tender, add the cooked rice, chopped cooked ham, coarsely chopped bacon, and a splash of your favorite hot sauce. Stir well to combine and return to a light simmer.