This New Year's Day fare and recipe by Jan Roden is featured in my book Entertaining at Home. Black-eyed peas are a traditional New Year’s Day dish. The peas are believed to bring good luck and prosperity throughout the year. For a full meal, serve with a pan of cornbread and a pot of greens. Collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are all excellent options.
The customary good-luck fare includes—black-eyed peas (prosperity), leafy greens (money), pork (progress), seafood (abundance), and cornbread (gold).
Southern Black-Eyed Peas with Ham Hock
2 pounds dried black-eyed peas
1 large smoked ham hock
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
4 bay leaves
2 cups unsalted vegetable stock
Rinse the beans thoroughly, removing any pebbles or other debris. Add the beans to a large bowl. Add cold water to cover by at least 4 inches. Soak the beans overnight.
The following day, drain the water and rinse the beans. Place the rinsed beans, ham hock, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and bay leaves in a large stockpot. Add just enough water to cover the beans, then add the vegetable stock.
Bring the beans to a boil. Reduce heat to a steady simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 1 hour.
Remove the beans from the heat and discard the bay leaves. Transfer the ham hock to a cutting board. When cool enough to touch, remove the outside skin and the bone. Dice the meat and return it to the pot with the beans. Serve the beans in a tureen with a slotted spoon.
© Photo Michael Hunter