After the New Orleans' Saints lost (heartbreakingly clinching it in the last two minutes of the game, as they always do, after you've held on all afternoon to the faint glimmer of hope they can pull this one out of the hat), I finally forced myself to get up and cook the traditional New Year's Day dinner at our house.
Black-eyed peas have symbolized good fortune since ancient Egyptian times, so it's not strictly a Southern thing. In the South, you eat the black-eyed peas for luck and the greens for money. (I always just serve a baby spinach salad for the greens because I don't like collard greens enough to spend that much time cooking them.) I always serve both with cornbread - whether it brings luck and fortune or not, it can't be a bad thing to start the first day of the year with such a delicious meal! ;)
Hoppin' John is the traditional black-eyed dish, but I prefer this Stewed Black-Eyed Peas recipe. The recipes are similar but the stewed black-eyed peas are a bit more soupy (and have andouille sausage instead of ham).
Stewed Black-Eyed Peas
1 lb andouille
1 c. yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic
4 bay leaves
3 tsp dried parsley
8 c. chicken stock (or 4 cans chicken broth, like I use)
1 lb dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
1 tbsp minced garlic
Cut sausage in half lengthwise and into 1/4-inch slices. Brown over medium heat. Add onions, salt, cayenne, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and parsley, stirring, until the onions are wilted, about 5 min. Add the stock, peas and garlic. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, till the peas are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the bay leaves and serve warm with rice - and cornbread, too, of course.