Beans that are called peas

Collards and black-eyed peas, courtesy of Amy Ormand blog:
Collards and black-eyed peas, courtesy of Amy Ormand blog:

Amy Ormond, New Year’s Day Traditions:


Truthfully black-eyed peas are already made.  Open the bag, rinse and pick over (because sometimes there’s a stone or a lump of dried dirt)….and go.  Put in large pot and cover with cold water and salt (I never measure, use somewhere between a tea and a tablespoon.) Leave overnight.

To cook, I strain the soaking water and start over.  Baz never does.

In a large pot, saute chopped yellow onion – two small ones or one large – in a bland cooking oil, add one or two finely chopped garlics, and if you have it, julienne a thumb of fresh tumeric. Adds a mustardly flavor.  Throw in the soaked beans, add ample black pepper, salt, and water to cover. Or a little veggie or chicken stock optional. Or a bit of smoked hamhock. Or an old bare hambone unless vegans are coming to dinner. Bring to a boil. Skim the foam & lower heat to a simmer.  Or use a crockpot for 5 – 6 hours.  These peas take a good long time to become soft, but that’s it.  They have a unique taste and don’t need anything much. Check and add liquid as needed.

Black eyes can be the main dish or a vegetable, can be vegetarian (hold the hamhock), or carnivorous, do nicely with a side of brown rice or cornmeal mush (aka polenta) or any of the strong Southern greens like steamed kale, mustard, or collards, are very happy with little sausage meat balls, enjoy a shake of Tabasco or Red Rooster, go in soups, and sing like angels.  (I’m making that up – but I do like Will I Am.)

Black eyed peas are totally wonderful with crisp fried bacon and that’s what we eat New Year’s morning. We gorge on bacon that one day and otherwise abstain. North Carolinians know black-eyed peas are required for a year of good luck the day the year turns.