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If you've followed this blog for any length of time you know that we try not to be too hyperbolic; that we try not to overstate things. So we will keep with that tradition in saying that 2021 was not an especially easy year, and many of us are ready to leave it behind. Black eyed peas, also known as Hoppin' John, are a New Year's tradition in the American South going back at least to the American Civil War and the oldest recipe on record is from Sarah Rutledge's The Carolina Housewife in 1847. While no one's exactly sure why this tradition began, what is certain is that these days the most popular preparation usually includes pork, often fatback or ham hocks, and of some sort of greens from the brassica family like collards or mustard greens. Our version doubles down on the on the flavors of Texas and Louisiana and features both Bravado Spice Crimson Hot Sauce AND Bravado Spice Crimson Tex-Cajun Seasoning.
Soak The Beans
There's a lot of superstition out there regarding the soaking of beans for cooking, and frankly it depends on the bean. Most beans only need a few hours of soaking though some particularly hard ones, like chickpeas, do indeed need a lot more soaking. Black eyed peas only need about 2-3 hours in cold water with a pinch of salt. Be sure to carefully pick through your beans to check for small pebbles & dirt. Even the best beans can occasionally have small rocks among them.
Both the Ham Hock & Crimson Hot Sauce Add Smokiness
We used a single ham hock for our recipe. Though your instinct might be to add a second, we would caution you against it. Ham hocks are smoked and adding more than one won't make the dish much porkier, but it will make it considerably smokier. The árbol chilies in the Bravado Spice Crimson Hot Sauce and Bravado Spice Crimson Tex-Cajun Seasoning will also add a bit of smokiness and earthiness.
Serve With Cornbread on New Year's Day
This is not an especially difficult recipe, but it does call for patience. Be ready to simmer your beans for about three hours, or until they are buttery soft. Traditionally, cornbread accompanies the meal. We went with a sweeter cornbread but there's absolutely nothing wrong with serving a slice of jalapeño cornbread as well. We hope you'll give this most Fergalicious of recipes a try and that this next year can be the best one yet.
1 lb. - Black Eyed Peas
1 tsp - Bravado Spice Crimson Tex-Cajun Seasoning
1 oz - Bravado Spice Crimson Hot Sauce
6 c - Cold water
1 - Ham hock
1/2 c - White or yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp - Butter
2 tsp - Minced garlic
3 c - Collard greens, rough chopped
1 tsp - Salt
1 tsp - Ground pepper
4 c - Beef or Chicken broth
Pick through the black eyed peas to look for dirt or pebbles and then soak them in cold water for 3-8 hrs.
Melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat and add the onions. Let the onions cook until they're translucent. Then add the minced garlic, collard greens, salt, pepper, and Bravado Spice Crimson Tex-Cajun Seasoning. Cook until the collard greens have wilted and softened.
Add the black eyed peas, Bravado Spice Crimson Hot Sauce, ham hock, and enough broth so that the beans are just covered, and the ham hock is mostly covered.
Simmer for about three hours, stirring occasionally, and adding more broth if needed. There should still be a little liquid at the bottom. Turn off the heat when the beans are soft and buttery but still retain a bit of texture. Serve with cornbread.