…from the Perspectives’ Kitchen
How you doin’? When I lived in Dallas, I discovered Black Eyed Peas were a potluck dish to help ring in the New Year.
On New Year’s Eve, many African-Americans make a point to cook black-eyed peas to usher in the new year, and as author John Egerton wrote in his book Southern Food, it is believed they have a “mystical and mythical power to bring good luck.”
Actually the black-eyed pea isn’t a pea at all—it’s a bean that is in the cowpea family. Black-eyed peas were brought to the Americas on slave ships from West Africa to feed the enslaved people who made the long and tortuous journey across the Middle Passage. In Africa, black-eyed peas would have been either boiled and eaten with rice, or fried and eaten with rice and fried plantains. Once in America, black-eyed peas were able to be planted by enslaved people in their gardens because they were viewed as a food for poor people and were also used to feed animals. They were often used in soups, stews and fritters.
After the Civil War, eating black-eyed peas became more common throughout the South and was not limited to being food for the Africans or the poor. The Union Army raided the Confederate Army’s food supplies during the Civil War and took everything that they considered edible, with the exception of black-eyed peas. At this point, the Confederate Army had to eat whatever they could find and ate the beans out of necessity.
No one knows for sure where the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for good luck and prosperity in the New Year came from; there are a couple of theories. One theory is that the enslaved ate black-eyed peas when the Emancipation Proclamation became effective on January 1, 1863. Another theory is based on the Southern phrase, “eat poor on New Year’s and eat fat the rest of the year”—grounded in the historically held belief that black-eyed peas were for poor people.
The most common way to eat black-eyed peas is in the Hoppin’ John dish. The earliest recipe can be found in an 1847 cookbook, A Carolina Housewife, written by Sarah Rutledge. Most recipes for Hoppin’ John call for cooking the black-eyed peas with rice, pork (usually fatback or bacon) and seasonings. Some variations include chopped onions and hot sauce.
My Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas are just as delicious as the good old-fashioned recipes that are still served for New Year's Day feasts.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Release time: 15 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 bay leaves
8 tablespoons minced garlic
1 pound dry black-eyed peas, rinsed
1 pound smoked ham hock (see ChefSecret)
4 slices thick cut smoky bacon, rough chopped
5 cups water
2 teaspoons low sodium Better Than Bouillon chicken base
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
ChefSecret: Ask your favorite meat cutter to saw the smoked ham hock into several pieces to make it easier to separate the meat from the bones after cooking. This can be a "dump and cook" recipe if you don't want to bother to do the sautéing steps.
Quip of the Day: “You don’t realize how old you’ve gotten in the last two years until you sit on the floor and then try to get back up.”
Do you have a question or comment? Send your thoughts to email@example.com. All recipes and cooking tips are posted on our website https://www.perspectives-la.com/covid-19-survival-guide.
To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America and/or American Red Cross.
#InstantPot #BlackEyedPeas #TexasStyle #Entrees #HamHocks #BetterThanBouillon #Holidays2022 #2022Recipes #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19 #FeedingAmerica #RedCross #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup
©Perspectives/The Consulting Group, LLC, 2022
For over 4 decades collaboration and vision have been the cornerstones of our approach to developing innovative solutions. We fuel innovation, uncover opportunities, discover trends and embrace sustainability, turning imaginative ideas into profitable realities.