Thursday, January 6, 2011

Southern New Year's Day

Ever since I can remember, my mom made us eat black eyed peas, ham, and cabbage on new year's day.  She said it would bring us health, wealth, and good luck in the new year.  The superstition seems to have stuck because I find myself needing to eat those things every year on January 1!  This year we were just returning from a 5 day trip with my husband's family, so we didn't want to cook an elaborate meal (similar to last year).

Black eyed peas are never my favorite, but my hubby (in a stroke of genius) suggested we make them into a hummus.  However, the store only had dried beans (I usually cheat and either get them canned or in those plastic tubs). We figured it was the perfect time to use our pressure cooker, which promised soft beans in 9 - 11 minutes (pretty amazing actually).

9 - 11 minutes under pressure! 
I found two recipes for black eyed pea hummus online and used our copious amounts of beans to make both.  Turns out a bag of dried beans makes A TON of food!  We got around 6 to 8 cups of beans when cooked!

Recipe #1 from Cooking Light (1999): No olive oil, plus cumin (recipe at the bottom)
I didn't have any tahini, so I left it out and still thought it tasted great.

Black Eyed Pea Hummus #1
Recipe #2 from a blog called Pink Parsley: had olive oil and no cumin
Also called for tahini which I didn't have so I omitted. Still tasted good!

Black Eyed Pea Hummus #2
So which was my favorite?  It was really hard to choose.  We eventually put them side by side in the same bowl and I still couldn't choose!  I probably marginally liked #1 better, but I would make either one again.

Moving on to the cabbage and ham.  We made the same recipe we used last year (cabbage, fennel seeds, water), but just added chopped ham.
cabbage and ham

On Monday when I went to get our mail, I got my first issue of my new subscription to Southern Living (thanks to Amy for the suggestion)!  I flipped it open to a story on the history of eating black eyed peas and greens on new years day in the south.  Pretty cool.  Check it out for a little history lesson.

"According to folklore, this auspicious New Year’s Day tradition dates back to the Civil War, when Union troops pillaged the land, leaving behind only black-eyed peas and greens as animal fodder. Rich in nutrients, these were the humble foods that enabled Southerners to survive. Details of stories differ, but each celebrates a communion of family and friends bound by grateful hearts and renewed hope for good things yet to come." - Southern Living, January 2011

Cooking Light Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Make-ahead tip: Hummus can be made up to two days in advance; just cover and chill.
Yield: 3 1/2 cups (serving size: 2 tablespoons dip and 2 pita wedges)


  • 3  garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2  cup  fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/3  cup  tahini (sesame-seed paste)
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  paprika
  • 2  (15.8-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained
  • 14  (6-inch) pitas, quartered
  • Fresh chives (optional)


Drop garlic through chute of food processor with processor on; process 3 seconds or until garlic is minced. Add lemon juice and next 5 ingredients (lemon juice through peas); process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Serve with pita wedges. Garnish with fresh chives, if desired.

Pink Parsley Black Eyed Pea Hummus
adapted from Carolina Cooking by Debra Zumstein, originally from 700 Dayton - The Mansion at Forsyth Park
  • 1 (16-ounce) can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste, well stirred
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika, plus more for sprinkling
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 Tbs minced fresh parsley leaves
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the black eyed peas (reserving 2 tablespoons), garlic, salt and pepper, paprika, cayenne, and parsley,  Process 15 seconds, until almost fully ground.

In a small measuring cup, combine the tahini, lemon juice, and oil.  With the machine running, pour through the feed tube and continue to process 1 minute, until the mixure is smooth.  If it seems too thick, add water, a few teaspoons at at time, until the desired consistency is acheived.

Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with paprika, drizzle with olive oil, and scatter the remaining black eyed peas over the top.  Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! What a cool twist on a Southern tradition. I'm glad you like Southern Living, too.


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