Some folks say that the tradition started when General Sherman and his troops tore through the South, destroying all the crops except the black-eyed peas. Another story claims that while Vicksburg, Mississippi was under siege in the Civil War, they ran out of provisions and were saved by the discovery of the humble black-eyed pea. Whatever the truth, the peas are associated with wealth in the new year!
Besides that, they are low-fat, low-salt, zero cholesterol and delicious! And, remember the ham we baked two weeks ago? If you sliced and froze some of that, you can add that to the peas along with some brown rice and have a complete meal. Just serve a quick green salad or coleslaw (more luck from the cabbage) on the side, and you’re off.
1 bag dried black-eyed peas
1 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 box organic chicken broth
1/2 cup brown rice, if desired
Diced ham, if desired
Salt and pepper to taste
If you haven’t planned ahead and soaked the peas overnight, sort through them, rinse, and then cover with water in a medium pot. Bring the water to a boil, let simmer two minutes, then turn the water off and let the peas sit (covered) for an hour.Meanwhile, dice the vegetables and saute them until soft in a tablespoon or two of olive oil (5-7 minutes.) When the peas have finished soaking, drain, and add them to the veggies with the chicken broth and the bay leaf. You may also add your uncooked rice. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. If the liquid gets too low, add broth or water so peas stay covered. Add the diced ham in the last fifteen minutes of cooking.
Serve with hot sauce! And I wish you wealth, but even more importantly, friendship and lots of good food and good books in the coming year...
And speaking of books, we can't resist reminding you that TOPPED CHEF will be out in May. You can pre-order the book today. And then please follow Lucy on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest too.