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Serve black-eyed peas for New Year’s

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By Susan Lowery

By Susan Spicer

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My grandma and my mother always told me you had to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day to get good luck for the coming year. I remember asking Mom what would happen if you didn’t eat them. She said she didn’t know because she’d never tried it!

I like black-eyed peas, so I like this tradition just fine. My favorite black-eyed peas are cooked with salt pork (or jowl) and bacon, and they’re delicious. Pour them over cornbread and you won’t be sorry. Like other dried beans, black-eyed peas must be soaked in water overnight before cooking.

My mom’s favorite recipe for black-eyed peas was called Texas Caviar. She served it with tortilla chips, and Dad and I loved it.

Happy (and lucky) New Year!

Black-Eyed Peas

1 lb. black-eyed peas, soaked overnight

2 T. butter or oil

Small piece salt pork, diced (about 1/4 c.)

4 strips bacon, diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1-2 onions, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

1 t. black pepper

1/2 t. cayenne pepper

2-3 bay leaves

6-8 c. water or chicken broth

In butter or oil, sauté salt pork, bacon, garlic, onions, and jalapeno, about 10-15 minutes. Add black and cayenne pepper and cook two to three more minutes. Add stock, bay leaves, and peas. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about two hours, till done and peas are tender. Fish out the bay leaves, then smash some of the peas against the side of the pot and stir back in to thicken the broth.  Taste and add salt, if necessary. Serves six to eight.

Mom’s Texas Caviar

1 (15oz) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1 (15oz) can white hominy, drained

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

4 green onions, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 green (or red) bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 onion, diced

1/4 c. chopped cilantro

1 (8oz) jar hot picante sauce  or

1 c. salsa (your choice)

2 T. lime juice

Mix all together and chill at least one hour. Serve as salad or with tortilla chips. Makes four cups.