Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens

A Southern Style New Years

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You can the girl out of the South, but you can never take the South out of the girl!

I grew up in a small suburb just outside of Fort Worth, Texas.  There are a few key things I remember as home for this time:

Saturday morning meant cartoons and home cooked breakfast.

Being in a simple place where it was encouraged to play in the rain without adult supervision in the 90’s was the norm.

Occasional “snow days,” which were actually just a small amount of ice on the ground, meant the world shut down and we were going knee boarding behind Dad’s truck.

Massive family holiday’s only included an obscene amount of food and a different desert for every person in attendance.

Mom and Dad trying to convince me every year on the January 1st that it was bad luck if you didn’t consume at least one black-eyed pea.

This last one is what led me here.  I grew up believing this was the ultimate truth.  It was a fight to get me to consume a black-eyed pea.  I hated black eyed peas (or any peas for that matter) more than anything else.  Cornbread… sure, I’m in.  But, black eyed peas, that is a restaurant you go to for fried chicken and catfish.

Well, I have changed, grown and now I too prepare this Every. Single. Year.  And, beyond that, I love every bite of them.  Every year, I search the web for a slow cooker or quick easy method of this Southern tradition to cook.  I always end up winging it so I can achieve the flavors I think of when I think of home, Grandmommy’s cooking and the South.  This year, I actually wrote out what I put in my pot.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pints cold soaked Black Eyed Peas (I like the pre-soaked kind)
  • 1/2 pound salt pork
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 medium red onion – diced
  • 2 medium red peppers – diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic – sliced
  • 3 cups of collard greens – sliced
  • 1 jalapeno halved and seeded – unless you love spice
  • 32 ounces of unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • Roughly 5 sprigs of cilantro and more leaves for topping
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter – I like Kerry Gold
  • 32 ounces of water – not added all at once

Follow the below steps for perfectly Southern Black Eyed Peas

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  1. In an enamel coated dutch oven heat 1/2 TBS of olive oil over medium heat
  2. Cube the salt pork and add to oil to begin to brown
  3. Add the diced red onion, red pepper and sliced garlic
  4. When the salt pork is browned and the onions are opaque add salt, black pepper, paprika, and cumin to stir to incorporate
  5. Sautee for 3 to 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together
  6. Add the black-eyed peas, bay leaves, cilantro sprigs, and ham hock to the pot
  7. Pour the chicken stock and about 16 oz of water over the top so the ham hock is covered
  8. Allow this to simmer uncovered for 20 minutes before adding the seeded jalapeno halves
  9. Cover and allow to simmer until the water reduces and the peas are uncovered
  10. Continue to add water (a cup at a time) until the peas are nice and tender or about 30 minutes
  11. Add three cups of shredded collard greens and stir to allow them to wilt

You can allow this to sit on the stove covered on low heat for several hours until you are ready to serve it.  Michael and I both work in the service industry and work nights.  Mine sat for about 2 hours before I actually served it and it was delicious.

Black Eyed Peas over Cornbread

I poured mine over some jalapeno, cheddar cornbread slices that I cooked in the oven while waiting for Michael to get off work and topped it off with some fresh cilantro leaves.  This of course was served with some delicious Champagne Gaston Chiquet Tradition since we missed our midnight toast on NYE.

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I hope you all enjoy my Southern Style Black Eyed Peas with Collard Greens.

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