Lannae's Food and Travel

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January 2, 2007

New Year's Black Eyed Peas

What day is it? It has been a couple days since New Year's Eve, and I am still recovering. On New Year's Eve, at my favorite Harris Teeter in Brentwood, TN, I had a choice of bying fresh black eyed peas, aka crowder peas, cow peas (northerners mistakenly thought these to only be good as cow feed until the 20th century), black eyed beans, field pea, or what every you want to call them, OR dried. I already had dried black eyed peas at home, so I passed on the fresh black eyed peas. I hope next year to buy the fresh black eyed peas and make this traditional Southern USA New Year's dish.

Before I went out for my New Year's Eve celebration, I dropped 2 cups of dried black eyed peas into water, to be ready to cook on New Year's Day.

In my local Kroger grocery store, just a few blocks away, there is a more of a tradition of southern foods, and there were plenty of smoked pork jowl to be had. There are only a few grocery stores in Nashville where pork jowl can be found, and I am lucky to be near one of them. The rich tradition of cooking with pork jowl is disappearing from southern cuisine, and I am not sure why. As long as I can help it, I will do my part to cook slow food with this pork delicacy.

My recipe for black eyed peas for New Years is simple.
Black eyed peas (drained)
1/2 lb large chunks of smoked pork jowl (remove chuncks when dish is done)
5 cups chicken stock
1 large bay leaf
a couple grinds of black pepper
(no salt, there is enough in the pork)
1 crock pot on low for hours and hours until done
1 long nap on the couch recovering from previous nights events
1 watch PennState kick UT's butt in the Outback Bowl

Ah! this simple dish is so so so good! When I tasted this batch, I was excited because it tasted so good and hearty. I was imaging how it was 150 years ago, when southern people on New Years were hoping and wishing for a plentiful new year and a good growing season while eating their black eyed pea stew. Happy New Year!


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