Black-eyed peas.

A while back, when I decided not to be religious, I realized superstitions wouldn’t jibe with my newfound atheism.  I had, afterall, never quite believed in throwing salt over your shoulder (it made such a mess) or not letting a black cat cross your path (I had one named Midnight); it had all felt very half-hearted.  Nonetheless, there are a few superstitions that stuck with me; I’ll always take a sip after a cheers, I tend to knock on wood—and I eat black-eyed peas for the New Year.

Not quite on the New Year however; I can’t seem to get myself to eat beans on a day that I associate with my last holiday calorie-filled hurrah.  I’ll buy the peas for New Years, sometimes with an honest intent to make them, but never do, giving in to roast chicken and potatoes, or braised pork.  I’m weak-willed.

Though when New Year’s Day is over and the diet begins, black-eyed peas help me with the transition.  They remind me that fat- and carbo-loading isn’t the only way towards delicious.  Especially this recipe, coming from Daniel Boulud, which pairs the earthy peas with (the herb I now consider its true love) dried oregano.  Bacon is added because, come on, it’s a transition to health—not a nosedive.  And finally, most importantly, a good dose of hot sauce keeps things exciting.  Without that, you’re just full of beans.

Southern-style Black-eyed Peas with Bacon

from Daniel Boulud’s Braise

makes 4 servings

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 5 ounces slab bacon, cut into cubes
  • 2 red onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish

The day before you plan to serve this dish, put the peas in a bowl, cover with water by at least 2 inches, and refrigerate.  The next day, drain well before using.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 275ºF.

Place the bacon in a small cast-iron pot of Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook until it renders its fat, about 5 minutes.

Add the onions, garlic, oregano, and black pepper and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes.  Add the drained peas, bay leaves, salt, and 6 cups water.  Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven.

Braise until the peas are tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes*. Stir in the Tabasco, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.

*For my taste, it was closer to an hour and forty-five minutes.


19 thoughts on “Black-eyed peas.”

  1. 4 garlic cloves?
    Isnt that too much? I mean,I’m not a garlic lover so,can I do that without it or with just one clove?

    This recipe should be nice to enjoy with Lynyrd Skynyrd hits,right? ah ah ah 😉

  2. Ahh, yes… Sweet Home Alabama, certainly. 😉

    I would go with 3 or 4 cloves… because of the long cooking time, you don’t even notice the finished dish is garlicky at all—just a nuance that I don’t think you’d get otherwise.

  3. LMAO, i do (sort of) the same thing… i cook my peas/collards/corn bread on new year’s day, but i rarely take more than one small bite of each. i feel it is necessary to have at least one bite to say that i did eat it on the new year, but other than that, they go into the fridge or freezer or into ziplocs to friend’s houses. :))

  4. Hooray for atheism.

    No, really.

    Transition, not a nosedive. I like that. But I don’t know if I like blackeyed peas. Never tried em. You make them seem good, but what else is new? 😉

  5. Melissa: You’ve got to try them—I can’t really explain it but they taste unlike any other bean I’ve tried… and *perfect* with oregano.

  6. Mmm, beans, bacon and hot sauce. Makes me want to move to the south. Hot sauce is good on everything but I’ve recently moved to wing sauce, that neon-orange colored buffalo wing sauce you’ll see slathered on wings at bars. It’s not that easy to find in stores but I can’t get enough of that flavor!

  7. We ate black-eyed pea salad for luck on New Year’s day. It is posted on my blog. I need a new recipe for black-eyed peas and this sounds really good. What do you think it would taste like to switch the oregano for cilantro? Thanks for the posting. Happy New Year.

  8. Lovely. Bookmarked.
    Never heard of eating black eyed peas on New Years. Wonder where that came from…
    I’m not religious or superstitious either but I can’t stop myself touching my knees and toes when I see an ambulance!

  9. Everything is better with bacon, and I love anything from Daniel Boulud. This looks great! And I’m totally with you on the salt over the shoulder thing. Such a mess and totally not worth the payoff. I’ll stick with a good old-fashioned rabbit’s foot. Oh wait, those creep me out…

  10. finally a simple recipe with swine… didn’t presoak beans last night though. any suggestions for a lazy bum?

  11. Hi slobby,

    You can quick soak the beans by putting them in a large pot and covering with a lot of water (about 6 cups to every pound of beans) and bringing the pot to a boil. Let it boil for a few minutes, then turn off the heat and cover. Let the pot sit for about an hour or two and then drain and go on with the recipe. That works fine, not just for lazy bums! 🙂 Happy, lucky New Year to you.

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