This Black-Eyed Peas recipe is flavored with bacon, garlic, and thyme in a savory soup that's said to bring luck and prosperity when eaten on New Year's Day!
January 1st is right around the corner, and in these parts, that means two things: New Year's resolutions and black-eyed peas! In the south (and perhaps beyond? Please enlighten me!), eating a black-eyed peas recipe on New Year's Day supposedly brings you luck and prosperity in the coming year. Now I'm not particularly superstitious, but I do love associating food with tradition and specific holidays, so I've been whipping up a pot of black-eyed peas on New Year's for a number of years now.
However, I have a little confession. I don't actually like black-eyed peas. In fact, I've always kind of thought they taste like dirt (or what I would imagine dirt to taste like, since I don't eat dirt on a regular basis).
At least that was the case until this recipe entered my life. You see, when you cook otherwise-unexciting black-eyed peas with generous amounts of fresh garlic, crispy bacon, and aromatic thyme, the legumes (they aren't actually peas, you see) soak up all of those flavors and transform into a bowl of goodness that black-eyed pea aficionados and haters alike would be enthusiastic to eat...not only on New Year's Day, but all year long!
If you've never really fancied black-eyed pea recipes, I think this one will change your mind. If you already traditionally eat them on New Year's Day, I think you will enjoy this new way to prepare them. And if you've never before ingested a black-eyed pea -- or never eaten them for luck on New Year's -- I encourage you to give this recipe a whirl! After all, how can you go wrong with savory beans in a garlic and thyme-infused broth, studded with fresh parsley and bacon?! We all know that bacon could make dirt taste good, so in my book, its use in this recipe elevates the humble black-eyed pea from tolerable to outstanding.
Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon: try them on the 1st for a lucky and prosperous 2014, and I'm pretty sure you will end up making them again and again, the whole year through...because they are just that darn good. 😉
Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon Recipe
Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon ~ Luck for the New Year!
- 12 ounces bacon
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic, about 4 large cloves
- 10 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked* and drained
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 cups fresh parsley, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Using a pair of kitchen shears, snip bacon slices into 1-inch segments and place in pot. Cook, stirring often, until bacon is crispy. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour bacon grease from pot, reserving about 1 tablespoon in pot.
- Add garlic to pot and stir for 1 minute or until it begins to turn light golden brown. Pour in chicken stock, black-eyed peas, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, pepper, and half of the cooked bacon pieces. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until black-eyed peas are tender. If liquid gets low before peas are done, add an additional 1 to 2 cups of chicken stock. (And if you desire less liquid by the time peas are done, simmer uncovered for 10 or so more minutes.)
- Remove bay leaves and serve soup with reserved bacon crumbles and fresh chopped parsley sprinkled on top.
This post was originally published on December 29, 2013.