Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's Not Too Late for Some Good Luck and Prosperity!!

Black-eyed peas for luck? Yep. . . .Back in the 30s, you were lucky if you had anything in the pot. . . .
Greens and Cornbread for prosperity? Yep. . . .Greens for money--Cornbread for gold. . . .

It wouldn't be New Years Day around here without  Black-eyed Peas, Greens, and Cornbread--a Southern tradition that goes way back in our folklore. . . .My Grandmother Magers wouldn't start a year without them. She'd say she wasn't superstitious, but why take a chance?

She has a point there. . . .

The black-eyed pea recipe I use is related to the Creole/Cajun food of Louisiana. It probably comes from both the French American hunter/traders in this area during the 19th century and the African Americans who came to work here from Mississippi and Louisiana. By the early 20th century, dishes like this were common in all the farm households. To this day, you'll find black-eyed peas cooking on the back burner of most kitchen stoves to bring in the New Year.

Over the years, I've changed it a little to suit my own taste. Many variations are possible, depending on what's in the pantry. Each cook develops her own seasoning technique. But, the basics are always the same. 

Dried Black-eyed Peas

Black-eyed Peas with Tomatoes & Sausage or Ham
from Irene Magers Duncan & The Farmer's Daughter 

The seven basics: 
black-eyed peas, meat for seasoning, onion, garlic, 
tomatoes, hot pepper +/or hot sauce, bay leaf. 
The rest of the list may be adjusted to taste.

"Throw in a pot", 2 cans or approximately 3 1/2 cups cooked 
and drained black-eyed peas 
(or red beans, black beans, kidney beans, or pinto beans). 
Add a little chopped smoked sausage, ham,
 or bacon for seasoning; 1/2-1 chopped onion; 
a clove or 2 of garlic, minced; 1 can, 1 pint or 2 cups tomatoes; 
1 tsp. red pepper; 1 tsp. black pepper; 11/2 tsp. hot sauce; 1 small bay leaf.

I also add chopped celery, parsley, oregano, 
Worcestershire sauce (1 T.), Salt to taste.

Let simmer until the flavors combine and the vegetables are cooked. 
Don't stir too much--peas will be mushy. 
Try serving it on a bed  of rice for a real treat.

Whether you eat a spoonful or the whole pot, I hope this year brings you Good Luck, Good Health, and as much Prosperity as you can handle!

from my farmhouse kitchen to yours. . . .

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