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New Years Day Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon

No recipe image available.A traditional dish served in the South on the first day of a new year. Why? According to Southern folklore, eating the peas as the first meal on New Year's Day will bring good luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead. Don't count on the folklore being true — but do count on this being a tasty dish worth trying!

Recipe Ingredients:

Day Before:
1 pound dried black-eyed peas

On New Year's Day:
1 pound bacon
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 (10-ounce) can RoTel brand tomatoes (tomatoes with chiles)

Hot corn bread as an accompaniment

Cooking Directions:

  1. On The Day Before: Sort and rinse peas in cold water. Place in large pan and cover with water and soak peas overnight.
  2. On New Year's Day: Drain peas. In Dutch oven, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add peas and simmer for 1/2 hour.
  3. Cut bacon into 1-inch pieces. Cook in large skillet until crisp. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels; set aside.
  4. In about 2 tablespoons bacon drippings, saute onion, green pepper, celery until vegetables have softened. Add garlic, seasonings and tomatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the mixture to the peas. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until peas are tender. Stir in cooked bacon and serve.

Makes 8 servings.