I live in Texas. Here, as in most of the southern United States, we celebrate the New Year with foods representing luck and prosperity. Black-eyed peas likely originated in West Africa and were introduced to the southern United States as early as the 17th century by people brought here as slaves. It is this rich food culture that provides the symbolic food of New Years Day. The black-eyed peas represent luck, collard or other dark greens represent wealth and cornbread echoes gold. All our hopes for the year set forth in food.
I recall our wonderful neighbor, Louise Mann, bringing over a tray loaded with peas, greens and cornbread every New Years Day until she finally taught me how to make them. She made her back-eyed peas with ham hocks and her greens with bacon. They were delicious sopped up with the crumbly, sweet cornbread.
This recipe is a new one I tried in 2017. I was hoping for something lighter and brighter and this is what I came up with. The Rotel tomatoes and chilies are also regional, but you can likely get them online. They ended up in the recipe as I attempted to clean out my pantry.
Black-eyed peas are very nutritious. A cup contains 14g of protein, is rich in calcium, folic acid, vitamins A and C and is less that 200 calories.
I hope you have a healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.
RECIPE: Black Eye Peas (Instant Pot Recipe)
1 Cup chopped fennel
1 Cup chopped Spanish onion
2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 can Rotel original diced tomatoes and chilies(10oz) Do Not Drain
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) Do Not Drain
24oz fresh or soaked black eyed peas
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Sautée fennel & onions with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and sugar until starting to turn brown on edges.
Add the black-eyed peas and canned tomatoes and Rotel with liquid.
Add 20oz water and 1 tsp salt.
Cook using bean setting (30 min high pressure) with natural release. Smash a few peas against the side of the pot and stir in for a creamier texture if you desire.
Alternately, you can cook them slowly on the stove top for about an hour and a half, until tender.