Black Eyed Peas with Ham Hocks and Collard Greens RecipeWritten by Lillian Tram on December 31st, 2015
It’s the first day of the New Year (Happy New Year, by the way!) and some important decisions must be made regarding the first meal of 2016, especially if you live in the south. There are certain traditions we southerners adhere to for the promise of good health and fortune in the year to come, such as eating hog jowl, greens (symbolizing money) and yes – even black-eyed peas for luck.
Black-Eyed Peas With Ham Hocks
and Collard Greens
Cooking this New Year’s Day southern feast takes about two hours and yields enough for a moderately sized family to chow down on, especially if you add other traditional holiday dishes such as the fried hog jowl. Your black eyed peas are believed to bring good luck to those who eat them on New Year’s day and adding greens to the meal is supposed to increase the luck they bring.
Simmer the black eyed peas and collards with onion and a big meaty ham hock or other options such as salt pork, bacon, pig feet, hog jowl and ham bones, will leave your black-eyed peas perfectly seasoned, southern style. If you love a little bit of spice for your New Year’s Day meal, include a bit of hot pepper and spices.
2 pounds black-eyed peas, soaked overnight if possible
2 pounds smoked ham hock, meaty ham bone or slab bacon
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 large onion, peeled and stuck with 2 cloves
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 pounds collard greens, cut in 1-inch ribbons (about 8 cups)
1 bunch scallions, cleaned and chopped, for garnish
Drain the peas and put them in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add ham hocks or bone and cover with 10 cups of water and turn the heat to high. Add salt, onion stuck with cloves, one bay leaf, black pepper and allspice.
Bring to a boil before reducing heat to a gentle simmer. Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the surface and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until peas are tender.
Throughout the cooking process, you will need to add water as necessary, always keeping the liquid level about one inch above the surface, stirring with wooden spoon occasionally.
Turn off the heat and check the broth for salt and adjust seasoning. The mixture should be fairly brothy. With a pair of tongs, remove the ham hock, ham bone, bacon or whatever you are using for seasoning. Chop this meat and skin into rough pieces and set aside.
Put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add vegetable oil, heating until the oil is wavy. Add garlic and red pepper to season and let sizzle but be careful not to brown.
Add the collard greens and stir to coat. Season with salt and add one cup of water, stirring to help wilt the greens. Add the chopped ham and reduce the heat to medium before covering with the lid slightly ajar.
Cook until the greens are soft, which takes about 20 minutes. Taste and season until perfectly suited for your taste buds.
To serve, put greens and meat in low soup bowls or plates with a decent edge, then ladle over the hot black-eyed peas. Optionally, you can sprinkle the top with scallions and serve this New Year’s Day recipe with cornbread.