Celebrate the New Year with the Black-Eyed Peas - Let's Get it Started!

I know I just posted an Italian alternative to the New Years' beans and greens, eaten to bring prosperity in 2009, but I figured I'd better do a more traditional version. I am the American food expert on About.com after all, and it would have been bad form not to post a real black-eyed peas recipe today.

This is a very old tradition, and I don't mean like pre-civil war American south
old, I mean really, really old. There are records of black-eyed peas being eaten for good luck on New Year's Day all the way back to ancient Babylonia. For you kids out there, that's way before even cell phones were invented!

This video recipe you are about to visually consume is a variation on something called "Hoppin' John," which is black-eyed peas, rice, and pork stewed together, usually served with some kind of greens and cornbread. For your convenience, and my pageviews, I suggest also clicking on my cornbread recipe video and doing this thing right.

I want to wish you all a Happy New Year! May your 2009 be filled with happiness, new experiences, and exciting challenges. 2008 was a very hard year for everyone, but I have it on a pretty reliable source (a Chef's intuition is a powerful thing) that this coming year will be a lot better. Until then, I'll leave you with this thought - the tougher times are, the better food tastes. Enjoy!

1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
3 strips bacon, sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound pork neck bones
6 oz smoked ham, diced
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
3 cloves chopped garlic
6 cups water
1 (10-oz can) diced tomato with green chilis
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
cayenne to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 large bunch kale, leaves torn
cooked rice

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