Good Luck Black-Eyed Peas

Jan 1, 2013 / By Serena
Posted in Food / Garden Maven / Good Ideas / San Francisco Bay Area / Travel |

Happy New Year! Time for some black-eyed peas! They’ve been eaten since Babylonian times as a good luck food and as I dug around for recipes, it was hard to find a culture that didn’t have a customary black-eyed pea dish.

They are eaten on Rosh Hoshana, the Jewish New Year, and one tale is that the earliest Jewish settlers to America brought their tradition to 1730s Georgia where it spread to the South for our January 1st New Year, strengthened by the proliferation of the crop brought to America by African slaves.

I cooked mine yesterday with some verdant tree collards from the garden. They are a tasty, nourishing, and lucky way to ring in 2013, here are a few ideas for how to prepare them:

♥ Sauté onions and leeks and a diced apple in a little grapeseed oil until wilted. Add the dry beans and let sit unstirred on low heat so that they start to toast for about 60 seconds. Then stir and add water, for these peas I use 1 cup beans for 7 cups water. Add a tsp of salt for every cup of beans. I added smoked salt and a pinch of chili flakes and the collard stems, chopped thinly. Cook on low for 3 hours and add the chopped greens for the last 20 minutes of cooking. Serve as a broth-y stew. My dad would sprinkle Grana Padano his bowl, I just know it.

♥ The Lebanese tradition is to make the peas with marinated tomatoes, onions, and plenty of seasoning and serving them at room temperature.

♥ In India black-eyed peas are called iobia and cooked down into daal.

Hoppin’ John!  Yum!

♥ Mash cooked black-eyed peas with minced cooked onion and salt and pepper and fry in patties Caribbean style.

♥ Try them in an Indonesian-style curry

♥ Head to Cam Huong or Ba Le in Oakland’s Chinatown for black-eyed pea chilled deserts with tapioca, sticky rice, coconut, and sometimes sweetened seaweed strands. If you haven’t tried this before don’t let the ingredient list macerate in your mind, just try it. It is good.