It has been almost six years since I moved to Richmond, Virginia and it has taken me this long to finally make some Southern Food. Perfect timing since Black Eye Peas are traditionally the first food that should be eaten on New Year to ensure luck and prosperity.
The tradition of eating black eyed peas dates back to the Civil War where they became only food source of Confederate Army not destroyed by Sherman troops. Today when you serve them with greens you add more green (money), with tomatoes you add wealth and health. Some even serve black eye peas with a coin to give extra luck to the recipient.
Either way, I will be eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day, at least 365 of them because who does not need luck and prosperity, especially during these tough economic times?
You will need: 1 tsp dry basil, 1/2 tsp garlic (granulated or powdered), 1 bay leaf, 4 cups (1 carton) low sodium chicken broth, 1 bag of greens (collard, mustard, turnip or even spinach), 1 onion, handful of parsley, 6 twigs of fresh thyme, 1 ham hock or shank, olive oil. Not pictured: 1 carrot, 1 celery
Black Eye Peas of course or other beans you choose to use
Soak the beans (peas) in water for few hours, or overnight, drain
Heat olive oil on medium saute onion, dry and fresh herbs for 2 minutes or until fragrant
add peas, ham hock and stock
Dice celery, grade carrot add to the mix. Bring to boil, then lower to simmer.
Simmer until the ham is falling off the bone, approximately 1.5-2 hours. Remove the hock and set aside
Add the greens and continue to simmer till wilted (soft)
When cool enough to touch, remove the meat from the bone and dice
Return to the pot and stir until evenly distributed
You can serve it as a side dish, as soup with corn bread or fresh baguette (not southern)
Personally this is my main meal. It freezes really well also in case you are not able to finish the entire pot in one sitting.
I hope this dish brings you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year !!!