One New Year’s tradition in the South is eating black-eyed peas for good luck.
Many decades ago I vacationed in San Antonio with my parents and younger sister. Our family vacations were all about food. I remember going to New Orleans for upscale seafood–we dined at Antoine’s one evening with a family friend who had his own waiter there. The gulf coast was for shrimp. And Texas was for then-exotic Mexican food.
One night at the Little Rhein Steakhhouse in San Antonio we were served an amuse-bouche of black-eyed peas. The whole family loved them and they were the highlight of the night. After we returned to Franklin, my mother wrote to the steakhouse for the recipe.
They responded with the following:
5 lb dried black-eyed peas
1.5 gallons water
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 lb butter
1/2 cup Lowery’s seasonall
2 1/2 tablespoon salt
3/4 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon pepper
Soak peas for two hours. Place in ovenproof dish with all other ingredients. Cook at 325 for 2 hours.
So–you probably don’t want to cook five pounds of peas. I cook one or two and cut the recipe accordingly. Be warned–sometimes two hours isn’t enough.And I add a country ham hock.
My parents used to make this for New Year’s–they’d have an open house-type party where people could come have a drink, some peas and watch some football. Cumin was a foreign commodity and had to be purchased in Nashville.
So–if you’re in the mood for a New Year’s good luck charm, try the black-eyed peas.
And best to you in 2012.