We need our good luck this year, right? And a little prosperity too? Not that we’re hung up on money, but some good luck and extra money never hurts, so let’s get 2009 started off right here! Join us in our southern custom of eating black eyed peas for luck and cabbage for prosperity in the New Year. Here’s the recipe that I serve to everyone at our home on New Year’s Eve, every year.
2 cans black-eyed peas
½ package bacon, cut into 1”pieces
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
Minced garlic, 4 cloves or more
1 can Rotel tomatoes & green chiles
1 large or 2 small bell peppers, chopped
A couple of shakes of your favorite dried Italian herbs
1 tablespoon dried cumin
1 bunch fresh cilantro
I head green cabbage
Chicken broth, optional
Drain cans of black-eyed peas and rinse. In a stockpot, fry bacon until barely crispy, then remove and drain on a paper towel.
Pour out most of the bacon fat, but reserve enough to sauté onion for 6 – 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for a few minutes more.
Add reserved bacon, beans, Rotel, peppers, dried herbs, cumin, salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Stir it all together, and pour in just a little water or chicken broth, about ½ inch, to keep the mixture from drying out.
Simmer on low for ½ hour, covered, checking to see if more liquid is needed. Before serving, stir in about ½ cup of very well-rinsed and chopped fresh cilantro. I like to rinse the cilantro and then put it in the lettuce spinner. Wrap the remaining amount in a paper towel, bag it and put in the veggie drawer of your fridge, and you can use it for another week.
Now, if you prefer sausage, use that, or ham, or any mixture of meats that you like. Or leave them out entirely, and sauté the onion in a bit of oil. I have made it every which way and seem to do it a little differently each year. But the one thing that I never leave out is the fresh cilantro at the end. It’s truly the thing that makes this dish a bit special.
Before serving, steam 1” wedges of green cabbage in a saucepan with a small amount of water or chicken broth for 5 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper, cut each slice into 4 pieces, and place one piece with each serving of peas. Pass around with Tabasco, a shaker of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, Emeril’s Essence, or any other salty seasoning that you like.
I like that I finally have a good use for these darling mismatched punch cups, all acquired from the thrift store for about 25 cents each!
Serve promptly after midnight.