Getting black-eyed peas and cornbread ready to bring in some extra luck in the new year

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 12/31/20

Black-eyed peas – also known as cowpeas – are a Southern staple around the New Years holiday with many southerners feeling it brings good luck for the new year. Given the interesting …

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Getting black-eyed peas and cornbread ready to bring in some extra luck in the new year

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Black-eyed peas – also known as cowpeas – are a Southern staple around the New Years holiday with many southerners feeling it brings good luck for the new year. Given the interesting times we’ve had in 2020, many Southerners suspect their neighbors may not have had their annual dose of good luck. To remedy the issue, I share with you my own recipes below for black-eyed peas and homemade cornbread.

I have also made the black-eyed peas with sliced kielbasa instead of ham and it turned out just as delicious and preferred by a few friends. Given the fact that we live near Katy, a town with a huge rice-growing history, I’ve also found it’s pretty tasty to serve the black-eyed peas over a bit of rice. I recommend serving the cornbread with a healthy dollop of honey-butter. A medium-sized cast iron skillet also works great for baking the cornbread.

BLACK-EYED PEAS WITH HAM AND BACON

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 1/2 pound bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 pound ham, diced about 1/4-inch square (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced fine or 1 teaspoon pre-minced, jarred garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Rinse and sort black-eyed peas.
  2. Place peas, bacon and ham (optional) in a Dutch oven and add water to slightly more than cover the dry ingredients.
  3. Bring to a boil and allow to cook for two minutes, then remove from heat. Do not drain.
  4. Let bean and pork mixture soak for 1 hour.
  5. Heat butter over medium heat in a skillet, add onion and garlic and cook until onions are tender. Stir thyme, salt and pepper into onion and garlic mixture.
  6. Stir thyme, onion and garlic into pea mixture.
  7. Bring Dutch oven back to a boil for about 1 minute, then reduce heat and let pea and ham mixture simmer, covered, until peas are tender, stirring about every 40 minutes. You may need to add water while the mixture is cooking.
    *Some readers may wish to sprinkle fresh thyme or fresh-chopped scallions over their black-eyed peas.

HOMEMADE CHEESEY SWEET CORNBREAD

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend
    *(if not in a gluten-free household, use all-purpose baking flour)
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, cubed into 1/2-inch squares
  • 1/2 of one 15.25 oz. can of sweet corn, drained
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425°F.
  2. Grease a 9-inch square pan or round cake pan. 
  3. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl and beat at medium speed until creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all of the butter and sugar are mixed together.
  4. Add eggs and mix well.
  5. Stir sour cream and milk in the egg, sugar and butter mixture.
  6. Add flour blend, cornmeal, baking powder and salt then mix at a low speed until thoroughly mixed.
  7. Fold in cheese and corn with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 19-23 minutes or until golden brown. To test for doneness, place a wooden toothpick into the center of the cornbread – it should come out clean and batter-free if the cornbread is ready.

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