In the Southern USA, it is considered good luck to eat Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day. And after 2020, we all need as much luck as we can get. This recipe, Good Luck Black Eyed Peas, gets it’s nice smoky flavor from smoked turkey legs. I’ve been using smoked turkey legs in soups a lot lately and they are perfect with black-eyed peas. With a little celery, onions, and garlic in the recipe, these black-eyed peas are as delicious as they are lucky.
The tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day dates back to the Civil War. During General Sherman’s march across the South, his army burned and pillaged everything in its path. The only thing he didn’t steal was the black-eyed peas, the Union Army considered them animal feed and didn’t want to take them. The people of the South, freezing and on the verge of starvation felt lucky to have the black-eyed peas. It’s a good reminder, things could always be worse and we need all the luck we can get.
Soul food and Southern cooking are in my heart, I love them. I can eat it for three meals a day, seven days a week. I serve my Good Luck Black Eyed Peas with my Southern Style Mustard Greens and a Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread. Those spicy, vinegary mustard greens, with some hot chili sauce or Trappy’s spicy vinegar, and the cornbread to soak up all the sauce. It doesn’t get much better.
Good Luck Black Eyed Peas Ingredients
- Black Eyed Peas: I use dried black-eyed peas, and soak them overnight. I change the water and rinse them twice, you’ll see how black the water gets during the soaking. There is a type of complex sugar in black-eyed peas that is indigestible and can cause gas. The long soaking time and rinsing them twice helps eliminate that problem. Just sayin, it works…
- Smoked Turkey Legs: Although a ham bone or ham hock may be more traditional. A lot of people don’t eat pork for religious or other reasons. Smoked turkey legs have a ton of meat on them and an incredible smoky flavor the is perfect in black-eyed peas. You would be surprised by all the weird tendons and ‘stuff’ inside the legs, but once you shred them, it all tender, juicy, dark meat.
- Onions, Celery, and Garlic: Nothing unusual about this combo. These give the black-eyed peas great flavor.
- Herbs and Seasonings: The black-eyed peas need a good amount of seasonings so they aren’t bland. Bay leaf, dried thyme, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt are what they need. I like the combo of red pepper flakes and black pepper; a little heat is perfect for the peas.
- Chicken Stock: After soaking the black eye peas in water twice, I give them a final rinse and add a good quality chicken stock.
Here is my recipe for Good Luck Black Eyed Peas
Good Luck Black Eyed Peas
- 1 Pound Dried Black Eyed Peas Soaked and rinsed overnight. Change the water and rinse the beans 2-3 times, until the soaking liquid is clear.
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Onion Diced
- 1 Cup Celery Diced
- 3 Teaspoons Garlic Crushed and chopped
- 1 Quart Chicken Stock
- 3 Turkey Legs Smoked
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 Teaspoons Dried Thyme
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. Cover the beans with enough water to cover them by a few inches. Soak overnight. Change the water and rinse the beans a couple of times, until the water is clear.
- Drain the beans and set them aside. Add the olive oil, onions, and celery to the pot and sauté them until soft. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
- Add the chicken stock, black-eyed peas, and all seasonings except the salt, to the pot. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for approximately one hour.
- Remove the skin from the turkey legs and add them to the pot. Cover.
- After 45 minutes, remove the turkey legs and let cool. shred the legs and discard the bones and all the weird connective tissues. Chop the meat and return it to the pot, and remove it from the heat.
- Taste and add the salt if needed (turkey legs are pretty salty, you may not need any additional)