I’m superstitious, and when I learned last year that making black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day is supposed to bring good luck, I tried it right away. It seems to have paid off: 2011 was fantastic. My book, “Man with a Pan: Culinary Adventures of Fathers who Cook for their Families,” hit the New York Times best-seller list; we moved into a new home (though we’re still woefully living out of boxes), and we enjoyed good health.
So tomorrow I’ll be whipping up another batch of black-eyed peas and making my heretical collard greens, you can bet. How do you celebrate the New Year? What are your culinary traditions?
Abe de la Houssaye's Cajun Black-Eyed Peas for New Year's Day
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ounce of tasso (see notes; bacon can be substituted) - diced small
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 smoked ham hocks, about 6 ounces each
- 1/2 pound andouille sausage (see notes) - cut in 1/8 inch rounds
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas (see notes)
- 1sprig of parsley chopped
- 1 small bunch of chives choppes
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
In a 1-gallon stock pot, heat the olive oil.
When the oil is hot, render the tasso or bacon for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the onions and continue sauteing for 2 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, bay leaves and ham hocks.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the black-eyed peas and chicken stock.
Bring the liquid up to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer.
Cook the peas for about 45 minutes then add the andouille, and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the peas are tender and plump.
Remove the hamhocks from the pot and remove the meat.
Add the meat back to the peas and re-season if necessary.
Add the parsley and chives.
Sever with rice (white is traditional but we use brown and when we have guest we offer both), with one bottle of green and one bottle of red Tabasco served on the side.
Notes: It is advisable (but not necessary) to soak beans over night before cooking - it shortens to cooking time which allows for less nutrients to be cooked off and will make them more digestible. Tasso, a specialty of Cajun cuisine, is a spicy, peppery version of smoked pork made from the shoulder butt. Andouille, a spiced and heavily smoked pork sausage, is another Cajun favorite. Both are available at specialty merchants and on the Internet.