The tradition of eating black-eyed peas dates back to the Civil War. Northern troops considered the peas to be suitable only for animals, so they were one of the few edible things left behind by raiding soldiers. The black-eyed peas that were “lucky” enough to be left behind would make their way to Southern tables, especially the tables of Southern slaves who celebrated emancipation as ordered by President Abraham Lincoln on New Year’s Day, January 1, 1863. After the war, peas were always eaten on the first day of January.
Whether or not you believe eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will bring you good luck you should try cooking some anyway, especially with a ham hock or two in the pot, as well as some sliced ham. It is delicious.
1/2 medium red or orange bell pepper
1 medium jalapeno pepper
1/2 cup instant brown rice
3 ounces fully cooked smoked turkey sausage
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 bag (12-ounces) frozen black-eyed peas
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Wash all vegetables.
Chop bell pepper. Remove seeds and finely chop jalapeno pepper.
Prepare rice using package directions.
Slice sausage into 1/4-inch pieces.
In a medium-sized nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook sausage for 3 minutes or until richly browned, stirring frequently.
Stir in the bell pepper and jalapeno pepper and cook for 1 minute.
Add black-eyed peas, water and salt. Cook for 30 minutes or until the mixture is slightly thickened but some of the liquid remains. Remove from heat.
Stir in rice. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Pastor Clay Parsons waited a year to bring his fiancée, Karen Briggs, to his new church post. They plan a Christmas wedding, but in the meantime, Karen helps the church ladies with various projects, including a bake sale. But revealing her fruitcake recipe could spell disaster for her future with Clay and his congregation.