BLACK-EYED PEAS + COLLARD GREENS

Black-Eyed Pea Cassoulet | for the love of the south

New Year’s is a time for reflection, celebration, and, if you were raised in the South, black-eyed peas, collards and cornbread. Waking up on New Year’s Day, the glitter of the evening still evident in my hair while little strands of popped confetti littered the floor. Resolutions have been resolved. Paper crowns and empty Mason jars are scattered about the living room as I make my way past the gold and silver foiled-lined doorway and into the kitchen to my beloved, saving grace: the coffee pot. Within moments, the aroma of chicory coffee filled the air. The scent of ham hocks and collards babbled away on the stove along with black-eyed peas and pork sausage crooning away in a cast-iron skillet, and golden, crackling studded cornbread sizzles in the oven. This is the aromatic symphony of New Year’s Day.

Black-Eyed Pea Cassoulet | for the love of the south

Each ingredient has meaning and purpose. Black-eyed peas represent coins, collard greens represent dollar bills and cornbread represents gold. Eating each Southern staple on New Year’s Day is supposed to guarantee a prosperous year, ensuring wealth and luck. While, I do not believe in luck, I do believe in the power of tradition.

Black-Eyed Pea Cassoulet | for the love of the south

This New Year’s custom dates back to the Civil War, when union troops pillaged the Southern landscape, leaving behind black-eyed peas and greens as food for animals. These nutrient rich, humble ingredients became cherished as they saved many families from starvation during hard times, and the tradition of the celebration of these ingredients was born. The story may differ from table to table across the region, but the common bond of the unity of family and friends brought together by thankful hearts and renewed hope for the New Year remains the spirit and soul behind the tradition.

So, here is to the New Year, may it be greater than anything we could ever ask or imagine. May it be filled with boundless courage, laughter, and…black-eyed peas and collard greens! Cheers, y’all!

Recipe: Black-Eyed Pea Cassoulet

Serves 4

Note: This dish has all of the components of a Southern New Year’s Day traditional meal, but it is also a lovely, comforting dish perfect on any winter’s day.

1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil, plus more for drizzling

¼ pound of smoky bacon, cut into thin strips

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 sprig of rosemary, leaves only, chopped

Pinch of red pepper flakes

½ pound of dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight

1 cup of collards, rinsed and torn into small pieces

½ cup of cornbread crumbs

Salt and pepper, to taste

Hot Pepper Sauce, Sea Salt, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, for serving

Preheat broiler

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large cast-iron skillet. Add bacon and cook until golden and crispy. Toss in onion, garlic, tomato, carrot, rosemary leaves and red pepper flakes. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables softened, about 10 minutes.

Drain black-eyed peas and add to the pan. Cover with water, season again lightly with salt, bring to boil and lower the heat to simmer for 45 minutes, until the beans are tender and most of the water has evaporated. Toss in collards and cook just until the greens are bright green, about 2 minutes. Take off heat, adjust seasoning, and cover with cornbread crumbs. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and place under the broiler until the crumbs are golden and browned. Serve with hot pepper sauce, flaky sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!

Black-Eyed Pea Cassoulet Ingredients | for the love of the south

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21 thoughts on “BLACK-EYED PEAS + COLLARD GREENS

  1. You NEVER disappoint! Each post, each memory or meaning brings me to a place of sentiment. Of course every picture and recipe causes my mouth to water and a rumbling orchestra begins. You continue to amaze me. Happy New Year dearest, along with prayers for a HUGE blessing overflow! ❤️

  2. Ooh yum! Never seen this dish done before (I’m not from the US) but it looks delish! Collard greens are wonderfully cheap here because no one know’s what to do with them. I love them so I’m ecstatic every time I find a good recipe with them in. Happy new year!

    • I love being able to cook with collards! It’s my favorite winter vegetable to cook with. What I love about this dish is that thd collards keep their lovely color and texture. Hope you have a happy new year! X amber

  3. I spent the past few (5?) New Years Days in the South and this is a tradition I enjoy quite a bit. I love the history behind it, and it makes a great excuse to gather with family and friends to start the new year off right! I am spending New Years in the Midwest this year, so unfortunately, this is not a tradition that I will be partaking in for 2015. This recipe is lovely though and the photographs perfectly capture New Years Day in the South.

  4. Such lovely photos of this hearty dish, so right to recollect one´s forces on New Year´s day! Especially like the uncooked the black-eyed peas “staring back” at me… Happy, joyful New Year!

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  12. I just made this. I used two cans of blackeye peas instead and frozen chopped collard greens. Delish! May be using this in future instead of Katie lees. Shh don’t tell! Thanks for the recipe. Can’t wait for some Mardi Gras recipes!

  13. What a great idea combining everything in the cast iron pan. I love this idea and it looks like a great homey meal for any winter dinner. Unfortunately, I’m the only one in my family that likes collards.

    • Phillip,
      Having everything in one pan also saves me from doing dishes, which is my least favorite thing to do! It’s definitely a comfort meal perfect for a chilly, winter evening! Also, I’m the only one in my household that likes collards, so other than eating the entire dish by yourself (which I have done!) you could omit the collards from the recipe and sauté a small batch of collards on the side for yourself to add to the dish!
      x
      Amber

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