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Dec 27, 2013

Happy New Year – Black Eyed Peas for Good Luck!

Field Peas with Snaps (may substitute Black-eyed Peas)

Field Peas with Snaps (may substitute Black-eyed Peas)

It’s that time of year again where we begin to think of ways to celebrate family traditions to ensure good luck for the upcoming year. Black-eyed Peas have become a staple of this tradition – representing the abundance of “coins”, i.e. money and prosperity for the new year.  And who doesn’t want that?

I grew up HAVING to eat Black-eyed Peas and just about anything else that my Uncle Bro grew on his farm on Seale, AL.  With seven children to feed, my parents were hard pressed to turn down any food offered to our family.  As a barter to my uncle, us girls were “shellers” for the bushels and bushels of peas and butter beans that he took to the farmers market on a weekly basis during the growing season.  We shelled; he stocked our freezer for the Winter.  We didn’t go hungry!

When I was about 16, I had a Scarlet O’Hara moment – I am a girl from the South, after all!  When my mama fixed Black-eyed Peas and cornbread for dinner (and that’s all), I mustered enough moxie to say to my mama, “I’m not eating anymore peas or butter beans or anything else I don’t want to eat!”  I clearly remember waiting for the floor to open up and swallow me – I had never talked back to my mama.  To my amazement, she simply said, “Well, that’s all we have.” I ate the cornbread and never ate another Black-eyed Pea or Butter Bean until I had a tentative spoonful of Black-eyed Peas on New Year’s Day of 1985.  It was after Watch-night service at the home of a friend accompanied by a young man I was dating at the time.  We married in August that year and still are.  Maybe there’s something to those peas . . .

Over the years, I ate Black-eyed Peas prepared by my mother and sisters when I returned home for visits.  When I was pregnant with My Caboose (last child), I had the almost insatiable craving for . . . you guessed it; Black-eyed Peas!  There was no way my family could mail a constant supply so I had to learn to cook them for myself.  I would literally cook and eat a pot every other day, nearly by myself.  Thankfully, The Mister and my older children didn’t complain.  And the best thing of all is that My Caboose has the cutest little Black-eyed Pea birthmark on his cheek as a reminder of me falling in love with this humble and healthy little legume.

Black Eyed Peas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The following recipe was developed for Field Peas with Snaps but works for Black-eyed Peas also. *If you use dried peas, follow the package directions - either soaking them overnight or doing the quick-boil method.
Recipe type: Vegetables
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 10-12
  • 3 lb. Frozen or fresh field peas with snaps (or Black-eyed Peas*)
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 diced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 ½ cups diced roasted turkey meat (leg)
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBS organic raw sugar
  • 3 – 4 cups veggie stock, broth or water, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup whole and trimmed okra (optional)
  1. Sauté onion, garlic, jalapeno pepper, turkey meat, and peas in the olive oil until the onions are slightly browned.
  2. Add in salt, pepper and sugar.
  3. Add veggie stock (my preference - see recipe link below), broth or water to cover mixture and bring to a boil for ten minutes. Reduce heat and cook covered (top slightly tilted) for 45 minutes. Check liquid levels frequently to prevent peas from drying out or scorching, adding more hot liquid if needed.
  4. If desired, and I do – add okra and cook for an additional 15 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.
  5. We enjoy Black-eyed Peas served with Cornbread and spicy condiments such as salsa, chow-chow, hot sauce and pepper sauce. I hope you enjoy my culinary stories and recipes and use them as a basis for your own expressions. Please feel free to share them here or on any of our social media platforms. Happy New Year!

Get the Roasted Veggie Stock recipe here.

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