Cooking With Legumes: Black-Eyed Peas
Traditionally enjoyed on New Year’s Day in the Southern United States they are said to bring good luck! Black-eyed peas represent coins and
are served with collard greens to represent money and corn bread to represent gold. This tradition of good luck is not limited to the Southern US, it is also been used as a staple for the Jewish New Year, with recorded references since Babylonian times.
Many countries have used Black-eyed peas (a legume) as a staple in one-pot meals. You can find them in West Africa, Portugal, Vietnam, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Jordan, Lybia, Lebanon, Columbia, India, Guyana, South America, and The Caribbean.
These legumes contain a wealth of nutrients and can be served anytime. Black-eyed peas are loaded with vitamins and minerals: potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate, iron, and lots of fiber.
2 Cups Black-Eyed Peas
6 Cups Water
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Soaking is not essential for black-eyed peas, but cooking time can be shortened if they get a quick soak in hot water. Place dried peas in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow to stand for 60-90 minutes. Drain water and replace with fresh, cold water for cooking – or if you skipped the hot soaking step, just rinse Black-eyed peas and add cold water.
Place on stove and bring to a boil in a pot with a lid. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, tilting the lid slightly to allow steam to escape, and leave to cook for up to an hour, or until tender. I like to add onion and herbs in the cooking process.
The traditional New Year’s meal includes collard, turnip, or mustard greens, and ham. Since I do not eat pork, I omit meat products for this dish and instead, enhance the dish with spices and sautéed greens.
You can experiment with a variety of flavors and ingredients. Different countries will use coconut milk, rice, hot spices, tomato, cilantro, olive oil, garlic, balsamic, onions, fish, and they can be mixed with other beans. There are many recipes on the internet for vegan, vegetarian, and meat additions for Black-eyed Peas. Have fun and enjoy!