While I was not born and raised in the South, I did live there long enough to have developed a deep fondness for the foods and traditions of the Gulf coast. I cook Cajun, Creole, BBQ and seafood any chance I get, and I serve it up with the warmth and love equal to any Southern cook out there.
I’ve been cooking up and consuming this recipe every January 1st since 2006. That’s the first time I was introduced to this particular culinary creation and the New Year tradition. Since I have had to explain several times why I eat this on the first day of every year, I figured it might make sense to share that here today.
In the South, they believe that this meal symbolizes good luck and prosperity in the new year. The peas represent coins, greens are paper money, and cornbread is gold.
You have to eat 365 peas!! That’s right. One for each day. Do not despair. You’ll want two or three bowls. I save myself all day for this meal.
I also like to eat 12 grapes to determine if the coming months will be sweet or sour. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a bit of a witch. In every sense of the word.
I need this luck and prosperity, people. I need it spiritually and in my work life. Not financially. I’m always willing to work for my growth, but I’ve never been opposed to a little superstitious tweaking of things, and in fact, I engage in it whenever possible. We all need a little help, but ultimately we make our own luck.
Now, I’m going to actually sit down with a bowl of this goodness while I finish today’s entry. Look at that warm and cozy bowl of love!!
This recipe starts on NYE, or the night before you plan to enjoy it. You have to soak the dry peas. Go ahead and get a practice run before December 31st. Soon would be an awesome time. I’m not sure if they will still be effective in bringing you luck or prosperity, but you’ll have a good day.
What You Need:
1 bag dry black eye peas, soaked overnight in 6 c water, and rinsed and drained.
2 c diced ham
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
6-8 c chicken broth
1 c banana pepper brine or spicy pickled vegetable brine
2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning or adjust to taste
2 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh black pepper
3 whole bay leaves
What You Do:
You want to soak the beans the previous night, as mentioned before, at least 8 hours.
Rinse and drain these in the morning, and place in a 7 qt slow cooker.
Chop up the ham and onions and toss them in the slow cooker. No need to sweat them. They are going to cook all day.
Add the garlic and all the seasonings.
Pour the pepper brine and the broth over everything.
Set it and forget it. I start mine on high, then drop it to low after 4 hours. I always let it cook 8 hours.
Serve it up with your favorite cornbread and some greens, if you like.
I had a busy day, so I skipped making greens, but I think I have a recipe somewhere in the Page or website. I’m too full to look. Glory brand mixed greens are a fine substitute in the case of a lazy daisy like me.
Oh yeah, I like to bust up the cornbread right in the soup, and add a few splashes of Louisiana Crystal hot sauce to spice it up a little. It is fantastic if the cornbread is sweet.
I hope you all have the best year ever. I will continue writing the recipes that, hopefully, are getting you in the kitchen, and around your dinner tables.
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