Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day: Down here, we’ve got some superstitious folks. And with the arrival of the new year, many of those superstitions are put on full display. In our family, the food on the table on New Year’s Day has always been a big deal. We have to have some type of green, pork, and black-eyed peas. Greens are supposed to represent folded money and ensure that you’ll have money in the new year. We usually have collard greens on the menu to satisfy that requirement. Pork is almost always in the greens and peas in the way of smoked ham hocks, but we usually have a traditional ham as well – just for good measure.
Now, black-eyed peas are said to represent good luck. Some folks even go as far as eating 365 peas to ensure good luck for every day of the new year. My family also puts a few dried black-eyed peas in our wallets – again, just for good measure. There are tons of other traditions and superstitions, too. My grandmother refuses to wash clothes on New Year’s Day. She says that doing so will mean you’ll be washing someone out of your life in the new year. She claims that she’s only done it one time in her life. My uncle was little and she had to wash diapers. That same year, her father died.
Now, I’m not saying any of these superstitions are true. I’m just saying that I’m not going to take any chances. And since I’m a huge fan of ham, greens, and black-eyed peas, it’ll work out just fine for me.
Slow Cooked Perfection: Now… Some things, especially dried beans, are just best when slow cooked. And when you don’t have time to tend a big old pot of beans all day, your trusty slow cooker is the perfect stand-in. Since black-eyed peas are small, they don’t really require presoaking. You’re welcome to do that and it will cut down on the cooking time. However, I’ve tried them both ways and I actually prefer them not soaked. The texture is creamier to me and the flavor is more bold.
Southern Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas
- 1 (16-ounce) package dried black-eyed peas
- 6 cups water
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 yellow onion quartered
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 smoked ham hock
- Sort and rinse the peas, discarding any discolored peas.
- Add the peas, water, bullion cubes, salt, onion, garlic, and ham hock to the crock of a 4 to 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8 hours (or on high for 5 to 6) or until tender to your liking.