December 29, 2011

A New Twist on a Classic New Year's Tradition~
Southwestern Black Eyed Peas

Southwestern Black Eyed Peas shown here with Mexican Chorizo and Avocado over Chile & Cheese Grits.

A New Year's tradition that dates back to the American Civil War, eating black eyed peas on New Years day is thought to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year.  

The peas (actually a variety of bean) are said to represent coins, and are symbolic of growth and prosperity because of the way they swell as they cook. Traditionally prepared with greens such as collard, mustard, or kale, the green symbolizes paper currency.

Southwestern Black Eyed peas make the perfect New Year's Day breakfast when served with fresh avocado and a fried egg on top!

Eating black eyed peas, or Hoppin' John (when served over rice) is part of my family's New Year's Day tradition.  This year, I wanted to experiment with a new spin on the classic and came up with this delicious recipe for Southwestern Black Eyed Peas! If you're a fan of Mexican, Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex food, you'll love this perfectly spiced, hearty dish. 

Black eyed peas typically pick up their smoky flavor from bacon or a ham hock, but this vegetarian dish gets its smoke and a little heat from a chipotle pepper. In this dish the green currency is represented by cilantro.   

Southwestern Black Eyed Peas
 adapted from The Homesick Texan's Austin Style Black Beans

1 pound dried black eyed peas
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, chopped (add a second if you like it a little spicier)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (divided)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 fresh lime, halved
salt and pepper to taste

For garnish:
Sour Cream
Fresh Avocado, diced

Step 1:  Rinse beans in a colander.  Remove any shriveled or discolored beans.

Step 2:  Place beans in a large pot and cover with 1" of water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let beans sit and cool for 30 minutes.

Step 3:  Drain and rinse the beans in a colander.  Set aside.

Step 4:  Return the empty pot to the stove.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and carrots.  Stir occasionally and cook until the onions are translucent (about 8 minutes).  Reduce heat if onions are browning too quickly.  Add garlic to the pot and cook for 30 more seconds.

Step 5:  Return the drained beans to the pot, along with the chipotle chile(s) and half of the chopped cilantro.  Cover with 2 inches of water, bring to boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Step 6:  After 1 hour, add the remaining cilantro, cumin, tomato paste, and juice of half of the lime.  Taste and add salt and pepper.  

Step 7:  Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes more or until the beans are tender.  When done, smash a few beans against the side of the pot with a spoon to thicken the broth.  Stir in the juice from the other half of the lime and serve.  Garnish with sour cream and fresh avocado.

Chile & Cheese Grits

2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/4 cups white cornmeal
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I like a cheddar/jack blend)
2 oz. canned chopped green chiles (roughly 1/2 a small can)

Step 1:  Combine the water and salt in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  

Step 2:  Mix the meal and the milk in a small bowl.

Step 3:  Whisk the corn meal mixture slowly into the boiling water, whisking constantly.  Reduce heat to low.

Step 4:  Whisk in the chiles and cheese, and continue to cook and whisk for 5 minutes or until the mixture is thickened and creamy.

Serve immediately.


  1. Oh, YUM! Thanks for sharing--and for saving me the trouble of googling the New Year black-eye peas tradition. (It's new to me.)

  2. Hi Jenn, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wishing you and yours a Happy Healthy 2012! So happy we're pals! xoxo Malia

  3. This looks really good! We had plain black eyed peas and cabbage. It's funny how "superstitious" we are in the new year. I was also told it's bad luck to do laundry on the first day of the new year - no joke. I didn't have any problem with that one :) Hope you had a happy New Years!

  4. Your recipe for the grits made me a new fan of grits. I had to modify it a bit, but the combination of black-eyed peas with grits was delicious, and the cumin, chili powder and Tapatio I added to my grits after separating more bland grits out for my sick husband are what made me a fan. I am writing about this recipe, and what I did with the extra grits on my blog. (


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