This is the classic, considered-to-be-good-luck bean dish for New Year’s Day. It’s never been so much that the dish gave good fortune, but more that if you already had good fortune, such as a good harvest of black-eyed peas and smoked pork in the smokehouse, then you could make this dish on New Year’s Day!
1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
2 smoked ham hocks (about 2 pounds), split
¾ pound Canadian bacon, cut bite-size
2 cups chopped onions
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ pounds kale, collards, or turnip greens, rinsed, with tough stems removed and leaves cut in ½ inch strips
2 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
1. In a heavy, 5-quart pot, place ham hocks or bacon, 8 cups water, onions, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, and red pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about ½ hour. (If using the ham hocks, as it comes to the boil, skim and discard any foam that forms on top of the water. When the foam-formation dies down, reduce heat, cover and simmer ½ hour.)
2. Stir in soaked peas, the greens, and salt. Simmer uncovered 1 hour and 15 min. until meat and peas are tender. Remove bay leaves and discard.
3. If using ham hocks, remove them from the pot, and let them stand until cool enough to handle.
4. Meanwhile, ladle 2 ½ cups pot liquor into a 2 quart saucepan; bring to a boil and stir in the rice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 min. until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
5. Remove the meat from the ham hocks; cut or shred into very small pieces.
6. Add meat and rice to the pot with the peas. If the mixture is soupy, continue cooking until liquid is absorbed, but do not let the mixture become dry.