Monday, January 2, 2012

Black Eyed Peas

Considered "lucky" if consumed on New Year's Day, freshly prepared black eyed peas are easy to make and oh so much better than from a can.  I save my ham bone and trimmings from my Christmas ham to flavor my peas, but you could use bacon if you'd rather.  Black eyed peas, cabbage, and pork, all considered lucky foods, always make up our New Year's Day menu.  If you'd like to add a little luck to your next New Year menu or if you'd just like a tasty side to any meal...

Here's what you'll need.
1 (16 oz) pkg. black eyed peas
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups water
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, whole and in their skins
1 ham bone, ham hock, or diced side meat
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp.ground mustard powder
2 tbsp. honey

To begin, wash your peas thoroughly (1pulled four little dirt clots out of my colander while picking over my peas).  After my peas were cleaned, I placed them in a stock pot and covered them with approximately 2 inches of water and placed them over high heat and boiled for two to three minutes.  Reduced the heat to medium-low and add the remaining water, chopped onion, garlic cloves, and meat and cook until peas become tender, around an hour.  Keep your pot covered and check often to ensure that there's enough liquid in the pot, adding more if it looks like the water level is getting too low.  Add your seasonings near the end, turning the heat to low and cooking for another 15-30 minutes after adding so that the flavors incorporate.  Remove the garlic pods  from the pot and place on a cutting board.  You will be able to slip the garlic from its skins and mash with a spoon.  Add the mashed garlic pulp back to the pot and stir well to mix it all in.  Taste before serving and adjust seasoning to your liking.

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