Black Eyed Peas Recipes: Hold the Fergie

Black-eyed peas -- as far as I knew, they were just a singing group. But apparently -- they're a huge New Year's Eve foodie hit, too.

But ... why?

Well it's actually a superstition more common in the South, which may explain why this CT gal is out of the loop. Southern folklore teaches that a "mess o' greens" served with black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will bring financial success and and good luck.

The tradition dates back to the Civil War when Union soldiers raided the Confederates' on New Year's Eve, leaving them with only black-eyed peas and salted pork. The only thing that kept them alive the next day was their leftover food items, and now -- these foods are considered, yup, lucky. Hmmm, I wonder if black-eyed peas will help me win the Mega Millions ...

Read on for a few black-eyed peas recipes to up your luck for 2011.


Spicy black-eyed peas: A great, classic take on the good-luck favorite.

What you need:

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 (12-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 1 (16-ounce) package dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 medium chopped onion

Preparation: Cook the bacon until crisp in a large saucepan; remove, crumble and set aside. Saute the onion in the leftover bacon grease until browned. Then, add the diced tomatoes and green chiles, chili powder, pepper, water, and peas -- cook for 45 minutes to an hour over medium heat until the peas are tender. Top with crumbled bacon.

Spicy bean salsa: For the black-eyed peas virgin, this salsa is a tasty and easy way to ease in to the New Year, without overwhelming your taste buds!

What you'll need:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced jalapenos
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 cup Italian-style salad dressing
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Preparation: It's simple: Combine it all. Cover, and refrigerate overnight to let the flavors meld together. Serve with tortilla chips.

Lentil and black-eyed pea soup: With brisk temperatures swirling post-2010 blizzard, a little soup may be just what you need to warm up your new year.

What you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup black eyed peas
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 1/2 cup white win
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation: This one's another simple fix. Boil the black-eyed peas for about 20 minutes. Add the other ingredients and continue to boil for another 30, then reduce to a simmer. Allow to cool, then use a hand blender (depending on desired consistency) -- and serve. My suggestion? Serve with some yummy Italian bread for dipping!

Do you eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day? How do you prepare them?

Image via DorkyMum/Flickr
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