Try Black-eyed Peas Stew for Much-needed Luck in 2021

Photo via Food and Wine Magazine

With what some may call “the hard-luck” 2020 on the way out, it is a certainty almost everyone is hoping for good luck in the coming year.

According to the lore from the Black community consuming black-eyed peas stew on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day will bring good luck, and some CNW readers have requested we again publish the recipe.

The black-eyed stew tradition, adapted mostly in the Black community, is believed to have originated from the days of slavery in the southern U.S. Enslaved Africans and their descendants cooked and ate the stew on New Year’s Eve as they sought luck to change their oppressed lives. After slavery, the tradition remained in the South and gradually spread to Black and other communities in the U.S., as well as the Caribbean.

But luck notwithstanding, this stew is a very delicious meal, and with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day often associated with food and drink and it would be a bonus to add this dish to the menu. 

For those who do not eat pork or pork-related products for religious or other reasons, the pork and bacon in the recipe can be substituted by beef or chicken. 

The following is an adapted recipe for:

Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Pork

Ingredients

1 pound dried black-eyed peas (fresh or canned black-eyed peas can be substituted)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 ounces pork shoulder, diced into 1/2-inch cubes

4 strips thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium onion, small diced

4 garlic cloves, sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

3 bay leaves

Hot-pepper vinegar, as desired

 

If using dried black-eyed peas, put them in a large pot and cover with about 4 inches of water. Soak the peas overnight, then drain the water and rinse. Alternatively, you can “quick-soak” the peas by bringing them and the water to a boil for 2 minutes. After this, remove them from the heat, cover the pot and soak the peas for 1 hour. Then, drain and rinse the peas.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork. Sear until the pork is browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the bacon, onion and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion and garlic are lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the salt, black pepper, cayenne and garlic powder. Cook until the entire mixture is coated with the spices, about 2 minutes. Pour in the stock and water and drop in the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.

When the pork begins to fall apart, add the prepared peas to the pot and simmer until the peas are very soft, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours (see Cook’s Note).

Taste for seasonings, and add some hot-pepper vinegar, if desired. Discard the bay leaves and transfer the black-eyed peas to a serving bowl.

 

Cook’s Note

Using the back of a spoon, smash some of the peas against the inside of the pot then stir them into the mixture. This will break up some of the peas and give them a creamier consistency. Alternatively, you can puree 1 cup of the peas and broth in a blender or a food processor, then return the puree to the pot.

 

 

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