Did you know that eating black eyed peas on New Years Day is considered by many to bring wealth and prosperity in the new year? This black eyed peas recipe is a twist on the more traditional southern version (Hoppin’ John), which typically uses ham hocks and collard greens. I’ve tweaked it to include two of my favorite ingredients: spinach and bacon.
Well folks, another year bites the dust. It’s hard to fathom, as it seems like only yesterday 2016 was coming to a close.
Last year, I learned that eating black eyed peas on January 1st is a southern tradition, one that’s supposed to bring good fortune in the New Year. While I wouldn’t consider myself a superstitious person, I am often a believer in “eh, it can’t hurt, right?”
Especially if it’s tasty.
The Wikipedia article linked above has more information on the symbolic inclusion of each ingredient (the greens represent money, etc), and the history behind the story. It’s interesting (to me anyway!)
- Cornbread is often an accompaniment to Hoppin’ John. It would also work well here.
- If possible, soak the beans overnight to cut down on the cook time, which is already 1 to 1 1/2 hours. A pressure cooker such as the Instant Pot, is also an option for speeding up the process.
I don’t think the bacon adds too much heaviness to the dish, but I realize we’re all exiting the holiday season, which is full of rich foods. If you’re seeking some lighter New Years options, I recommend this Mediterranean Salad with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette.
It’s light, but with a nice balance of flavors and textures, plus protein to keep you satiated. Two other options that I love when I’m feeling like I over-indulged are this Quinoa, Apple and Almond Salad with Honey Mint Vinaigrette, and my Sweet Potato, Apple and Avocado Salad.
Happy New Year!
Black Eyed Peas with Spinach and Bacon
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and drained
- 10 strips thick-cut bacon, divided
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 cups homemade or low sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 - 2 pounds fresh spinach, either baby or regular spinach will work, see notes
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste (optional)
- Kosher salt to taste
- In a heavy-bottom saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and half of the minced garlic. Cook for approximately 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the black eyed peas, 2 strips of bacon, bay leaves, and thyme.
- Add the stock and black pepper, then turn the heat to high. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the beans are tender but not mushy, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Meanwhile, slice the remaining bacon. In a large skillet or saucepan, cook over low heat to render out the fat, then turn the heat to medium and cook until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat, turn the heat to low, and add the remaining garlic. Cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute. Add the crushed red pepper, if using.
- Add the spinach to the pan and cover, allowing the steam to wilt the spinach, approximately 2 to 3 minutes (you will likely need to do this in batches). Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the spinach was cooked in batches, combine before seasoning.
- Using tongs, remove the bacon and thyme sprigs from the black eyed peas, then drain any excess liquid. Serve the peas over the spinach, topped with the bacon.
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