I am sure I am not the only one who has family that eats Black Eyed Peas, Cornbread and Collard Greens on either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. But in case some of you don't know what I am talking about, here's some info on the custom (From About.com):
The tradition of eating black-eyed peas for the New Year has evolved into a number of variations and embellishments of the luck and prosperity theme including:
* Served with greens (collards, mustard or turnip greens, which varies regionally), the peas represent coins and the greens represent paper money. In some areas cabbage is used in place of the greens.
* Cornbread, often served with black-eyed peas and greens, represents gold.
* For the best chance of luck every day in the year ahead, one must eat at least 365 black-eyed peas on New Year's Day.
* Black-eyed peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represent wealth and health.
* In some areas, actual values are assigned with the black-eyed peas representing pennies or up to a dollar each and the greens representing anywhere from one to a thousand dollars.
* Adding a shiny penny or dime to the pot just before serving is another tradition practiced by some. When served, the person whose bowl contains the penny or dime receives the best luck for the New Year, unless of course, the recipient swallows the coin, which would be a rather unlucky way to start off the year.
The catch to all of these superstitious traditions is that the black-eyed peas are the essential element and eating only the greens without the peas, for example, will not do the trick.
I found this great recipe, courtesy of sgrishka at BigOven.com and I wanted to share it because I will be cooking this for the familia, along with corn bread, and greens.
If you have a "No Pork on Your Fork" philosophy, you can definitely switch the sausage to turkey sausage and the ham hocks to smoked turkey wings (which I am considering doing because.. that's a whole lot of PO'K!!! ) LOL
Black Eyed Pea Stew
* 1 large ham hock, ham shank, or ham bone
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 pound smoked sausage, hot sausage, andouille, bacon, ham, or other smoked
* 1 large yellow onion, chopped
* 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
* 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (optional)
* 2 tablespoons tablespoons garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon salt,
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
* 2 bay leaves
* 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over
* 2 quarts ham stock, or chicken stock, or low-sodium chicken broth, or water
* 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped
Wash peas, spread out on towel and check for derbies (you don't have to soak the peas). With a sharp knife, score the skin and fat on the ham hocks with 1/4-inch-deep slashes.
Heat the oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, bell peppers and jalapeno peppers, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the ham hocks, garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas and stock. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and bring down to a medium simmer, cooking uncovered for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, slice the sausage into 1/2" pieces and brown in a heavy skillet. (If using bacon, don't cook it until it's crisp.) Add sausage to the beans, continue a medium simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 45 to 60 minutes more, or until the peas are creamy and tender (skim off any foam that forms on the surface). Add additional stock if necessary.
Remove the bay leaves and discard. Cut the meat from the ham hocks, discarding the skin and bones. Return the meat to the pot, stir in the parsley and heat through, about 5 minutes. Check seasonings. Serve with cooked long-grain white rice, corn bread or corn muffins.
May be served over rice as a main course, as a side dish, or thinned with ham or chicken stock and served as a soup, as desired.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings