So, New Years. In this house it means black-eyed peas. (No, not the band.)
And I know, I know, you're thinking "Why THOSE things?" Well, seriously, if you think you don't like them, or haven't tried them in a while, this is a good excuse. They may surprise you! We're having them this afternoon because I like them. And, my kids actually like them...
And they're traditional, especially in the South, as a New Years Day dish. Here's a little blurb from our local paper:
Blackeyed peas have long been a tradition for the New Year’s table. They supposedly bring good luck for the coming year, and eating them shows “humility”. Some Southerners have been rumored to eat one pea for each day of the year to insure good fortune! They are a humble food, therefore, eating them
Besides the tradition part, black eyed peas have a lot of other things going for them. If you like them, don't limit yourself to once a year! They are wonderfully smoky, "earthy" and sooo delicious (as well as being an excellent source of fiber, calcium and IRON, ladies).
Here's the recipe I usually use, called "Hoppin' John". It's a great pot of stewed black-eyed peas and veggies. Yum. I freely admit I stole the basic idea from Emeril and the fine folks at Food Network. (Hey, you'd be surprised how much fun it is to mentally "vegan-ize" everything he cooks! )Traditionally (since we're being traditional and all!) it has a big ol' HAM BONE sitting in the pot, but being that I'd rather not have animal bones staring at me while I eat and the pig would rather keep his bones INSIDE his fat self... well, I substitute that flavor with some "Liquid Smoke" which is basically an all-vegan smoke concentrate flavoring. If you need the meaty bits, add seitan or whatever suits your fancy.
Do plan ahead though. Black-eyed peas from a can are not nearly as good as those you soak and cook yourself.
1 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped small
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped garlic
1 pound dry black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
1 quart vegetable stock
1 Bay leaf
1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
Salt, black pepper, and cayenne
3 tablespoons each: finely chopped green onion and chopped fresh parsley
3 cups steamed white rice
Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, red pepper, and garlic, cook for 4 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaves, thyme, liquid smoke and seasonings.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 - 60 minutes, or until the peas are creamy and tender, stir occasionally.
If the liquid evaporates, add more water or stock. Adjust seasonings, and garnish with green onions and chopped fresh parsley. Serve over rice.
Happy Ham-Free New Years everyone!