According to Southern tradition, you should eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day to bring good luck and prosperity in the New Year. This is a recipe I’ll probably post every year because you gotta have black eyed peas for the new year.
While we often have black eyed peas through out the year, we absolutely had them on January 1. My momma Gloria typically makes a pork roast with coleslaw and black eyes, along with a pone of cornbread on New Year’s Day. I thought I’d break tradition a bit, though not straying from the black eyed theme, and make Hoppin’ John. Hoppin’ John is basically black eyed peas with rice, some sort of pork, onions and seasoning. We never really had it growing up, but we had everything else with rice. So I worked up a recipe that is a little bit of everything else, but sticks to the main elements of the dish–some jambalaya influence from my friend Robert St. John’s recipe (using Andouille Sausage, instead of bacon or a ham hock) and some Chicken & Rice influence from momma (cooking the rice in the pot with the peas, instead of just serving them over rice).
Charlie (my north of the Mason Dixon line husband) had TWO helpings!! He is the Punxsutawney Phil of recipe taste tasting–I wait with bated breath (and a frozen dinner as a back up) to see if I have a winner or if I’ve got six more weeks in the kitchen to perfect a dish. He has a discriminating palate so trust me when I say, if he thinks its good, it’s good. Get your cast iron Dutch oven out and bring in the new year with a stick-to-your-ribs meal, some Southern tradition, and a whole lotta luck! Happy New Year!
A New Year's Day Southern tradition starring black eyed peas, long grain rice, & andouille sausage
1 package (14.5 ounces) andouille sausage (or cajun style sausage), cut in half length wise and sliced in quarters
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic (may add more to taste)
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 pound frozen black eyed peas
1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice (I used Basmati)
1 large bay leaf or 2 small ones
Salt & pepper to taste
Pre heat a large cast iron dutch oven on the stove top. Add sausage and increase heat to medium. Add celery, onions and garlic and cook together for about 8-10 minutes, stirring often.
Pour in chicken broth, black eyed peas and rice, along with the bay leaf. Stir to blend.
Put the lid on dutch oven and increase heat to medium high, allowing it come to a bubbling simmer.
Decrease heat to low, leaving lid on and allow to cook for about 20-30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to sit with the lid on for about 5 minutes.
Serve with garlic bread.
This is my rendition of this classic, but there are many ways you can make it your own. Add in a chopped green pepper or use another type of sausage or bacon. I like andouille because it has the spice in it already, but if you use another type, you may way to add a little heat-either with cayenne pepper, cajun seasonings, or finished off with some hot sauce at the dinner table. You could serve it with some green onions on top or a side green salad.