It’s a tradition in the South to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. I’m a Yankee by birth but grew up in the South and this is just what we ate every year for good luck. There’s a lot of different explanations as to why black-eyed peas are considered lucky…
Some say this dates back to the Civil War when Union Soldiers raided the Confederates food supplies but left the black-eyed pea crops because they considered them fit only for animals to eat. The Confederates considered themselves lucky to be left with even these and survived the winter. Black-eyed peas became symbolic of luck.
Another reason given is that black-eyed peas, which are considered “soul food” was all the southern slaves had to celebrate with on the first day of January 1863, which is when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.
Going back even further, eating black-eyed peas has been considered good luck for at least 1,500 years. According to a portion of the Talmud written around 500 A.D., it was Jewish custom at the time to eat them in celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
Symbolically, eating black-eyed peas with cornbread and greens is the best combination because the black-eyed peas loosely resemble coins and dried beans greatly expand in volume, symbolized expanding wealth. Greens represent the color of money and cornbread, is of course gold….”Peas for pennies, greens for dollars and cornbread for gold.”
Enough of the history….but if you’re wanting a bit of “luck” in the New Year, this is the perfect recipe.
The cornbread, black-eyed peas, and collard greens came in at about $8.23 total. I picked up some smoked sausage for $3.49 which goes really well with this and brings up the price to $11.72, which is still a good price…less than $3.00 per person.
CORNBREAD WITH BLACK-EYED PEA TOPPING –
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Serves: 4 for approx. $5.59
- 5 bacon slices
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas, undrained
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 6 to 8.5 ounce package cornbread mix*
*I bought Jiffy corn muffin mix, which requires milk and an egg, which I included in my pricing
- Optional toppings – salsa, sour cream
Prepare cornbread as directed on package.
Cook bacon in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.
Saute green onions and bell peppers in hot drippings in skillet until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add black-eyed peas and hot sauce and cook until thoroughly heated.
To serve – Cut cornbread into wedges. Top cornbread with black-eyed pea mixture and sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Top with salsa or sour cream if desired.
This is my favorite collard greens recipe and one I make all the time. I have served this to many people who told me they didn’t like any type of greens, tried this, ate every bite and then asked me for the recipe. You can actually substitute any type of green for the collard greens, like mustard, swiss chard, kale, etc.
COLLARD GREENS –
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves: 4 for approx. $2.64s
- 2 strips bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2 inches
- 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- dash or 2 of hot sauce
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 bunch collard greens, stems removed, sliced into 3-inch strips
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Cook bacon until it just begins to brown around the edges, stirring occasionally. Add onions and cook until they have softened and are just starting to brown.
Add garlic, salt, pepper, sugar and hot sauce. Cook until garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vinegar, bring to a simmer and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by half, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add collard greens and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce temperature to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the collard greens have wilted and have lost their brightness. Season to taste with additional vinegar and hot sauce if desired. Serve with some of the pan juices, alongside the cornbread and black-eyed peas.