For the New Year’s good fortune, a plate of black-eyed peas or “Hoppin’ John” is considered auspicious, auguring wealth and prosperity. In the American South, they are traditionally eaten on the first day of the year. Adding cooked greens (the color of money) is said to make them even luckier. Simmered with onion and a meaty ham bone, black-eyed peas are often seasoned quite simply, with just salt and pepper. They may also be made highly seasoned with hot pepper and spices.
Black Eyed Peas With Ham Hock and Collards
By: David Tanis
2 lb black-eyed peas, soaked overnight if possible
2 lb smoked ham hock, meaty ham bone or slab bacon
2 tsp kosher salt
1 large onion, peeled and stuck with 2 cloves
1 bay leaf
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp allspice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper
2 lb collard greens, cut in 1-inch ribbons (about 8 cups)
1 bunch scallions, cleaned and chopped, for garnish
Drain peas and put them in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add ham hock or bone (if using slab bacon, cut it into 2-inch chunks), cover with 10 cups water and turn heat to high. Add salt, onion stuck with cloves, bay leaf, black pepper and allspice.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the surface. Simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until peas are tender. Throughout cooking, add water as necessary, always keeping liquid level 1 inch above surface, stirring with wooden spoon occasionally. Turn off heat. Check broth for salt and adjust seasoning. Mixture should be fairly brothy. With a pair of tongs, remove ham hock, ham bone or bacon. Chop meat and skin in rough pieces and set aside.
Put a large wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil and heat until wavy. Add garlic and red pepper and let sizzle without browning. Add collard greens and stir to coat. Season with salt and add 1 cup water, stirring to help wilt greens. Add chopped ham and reduce heat to medium, then cover with lid slightly ajar and cook until greens are soft, about 20 minutes. Check seasoning.
To serve, put greens and meat in low soup bowls, then ladle over hot black-eyed peas. Sprinkle with scallions.
Black Eyed Pea Salad
By Angela LeMoine
2 cans black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cucumber, seeded diced
1 stalk celery, small diced
2 tbsp small diced red onion
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
scallion for garnish
Stir together the black eyed peas, red bell pepper, red onion, celery and cucumber. In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper until well combined. Toss the dressing with the salad and garnish with sliced scallion.