I figure we need all the luck we can get to make it through the new year…

So I always start off New Year’s Day with a big pot of black eyed peas. I’ve tried several recipes, but this is my favorite.

I like to serve a big bowl of black eyed peas with cornbread, of course, steaming rice, and I like a winter salad made with kale. By the way, several grocery stores now carry a pre-packaged kale salad that I think is great tasting and so healthy!

(Don’t forget the southern tradition of dropping a coin in the pot for good luck.)

Jane’s Black Eyed Peas

(serves 6 easily)

2 lbs fresh black eyed peas (soaked in water overnight or “quick-soak” by bringing to a boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover pot and soak for 1 hour.)

12 ounces diced country ham (or a combination of ham and salt pork if you prefer)

6 cloves minced garlic

2 quarts chicken broth

water as needed

2 large onions, diced

salt and black pepper to taste

Garnish with chopped red onion, fresh jalapenos, red wine vinegar or tobasco.

Heat a large soup kettle over medium high heat. Add salt port; fry until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove salt pork and set aside. Add onions and garlic, saute until tender and translucent, be careful not to burn.

Add peas, chicken broth, and water as needed. (Drop a coin in for extra good luck!) Return salt pork to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until peas are fully softened. Add water as necessary to keep peas moist but not soupy, about 1 hour. Keep cooking until peas start to break down and turn the pot juices to opaque. Otherwise you’ll end up with watery beans.

When peas have fully softened, season generously with salt and pepper, continue to simmer to blend flavors, a couple of minutes longer. Salt peas only after they have fully softened. (Salt too soon and they never will!)

Serve with bowls of chopped red onion and fresh chopped jalepenos. I also like to season mine with red wine vinegar or tobasco.

Serve with steaming hot rice, corn bread and a kale salad.

Happy 2015!!

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