The celebration surrounding the New Year is nearly as heaped in food traditions as Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are individual family classics-in our house, we eat Swedish meatballs, sauerkraut, pork, and Chex mix! And there are classic foods like black-eyed peas. The Foodtimeline.org says black-eyed peas are thought to bring luck because of their round shape, which signifies that the old year has been completed. The dish is often cooked with pork, which is a symbol of prosperity.
I’ve always wanted to make a batch and I found a super simple recipe in the Old House Holiday and Party Cookbook, published in 1969 and written by Emily Dick, owner of the now-defunct Old House Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. I’m publishing this in time for you to go out, buy a bag a black-eyed peas and soak them! It’s a really delicious and hearty way to start your new year. It’s a one-pot dish. You can use ham in place of salt pork but I found a store that carries salt pork, which I’m going to use in all my bean recipes from now on-it’s just superior to ham, in my opinion.
2 cups black-eyed peas
1/2 pound salt pork
1 slice red pepper or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 cups water, divided
1 chopped onion
Soak the beans in four cups of water overnight. Drain just before cooking.
Rinse the salt pork. Put all the ingredients in a heavy pot with a lid and bring it to a boil.
Reduce the heat, and let it simmer until the peas are tender-about two hours.