Some of life’s great joys are the feast days of the circling year: Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas. My favorite feast dinner is on New Year’s Day. There’s pork, because a pig roots going forward; corn bread, for the golden color that brings gold and good luck; greens, for the green of prosperity; carrot coins, which represent gold coins; and, of course, black-eyed peas. Anyone who grew up in the Deep South knows that you will only have good luck in the coming year if you eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.
Maybe you have a New Year’s resolution. If you were inspired by the last Save and Savor blog post by Nicole Haines, you might have resolved to make January “Veganuary.” How can you translate veganism into a New Year’s feast? I suppose instead of corn muffins, you could just have corn: that’s going from vegetarian to vegan. And leave out the pork or use Morningstar sausage or similar. But can you leave the pork out of the black-eyed peas and still have the tastiest, luckiest black-eyes ever?
The following recipe is from the New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, with a few changes. The result, in my family, is praised by vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike. I cook it once a year.
Boston Black-Eyed Peas
Four cups cooked black-eyed peas
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil, or maybe just a little more
2 minced cloves garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped fresh beet greens, collards, chard, or spinach
¼ cup tamari soy sauce
⅓ cup molasses
1 teaspoon dried mustard or a good quality prepared mustard
Start out with a one-pound bag of dried peas. The night before, cover them with water, enough to totally submerge the peas plus about two inches, or more, and let them soak overnight. The next day, drain them, rinse them, and cook as follows: bring the salted water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the black-eyed peas. Cover and return to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Use four cups of these cooked black-eyes in the recipe.
Sauté the garlic and onions in the oil until the onions are just translucent. Mix the greens into the onions and continue to sauté until the greens wilt. Mix together the soy sauce, molasses, and mustard and set aside. Drain the black-eyed peas, saving a cup of the liquid.
In the saucepan, stir together the drained peas, the sautéed onion mixture, and the molasses-soy sauce. Cover and simmer on very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently. During this simmer, there is some danger of sticking or scorching, so add some of the reserved pea stock as necessary and continue to stir.
Serve with the rest of the New Year’s dinner, and enjoy good luck in 2023!
The recipe originally called for 4 cups of fresh black-eyed peas or 2 frozen 10-ounce packages of peas, boiled initially 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes. If you are using frozen peas, I think one one-pound bag works better than 2 frozen 10-ounce packages.
I think dried peas which soak overnight end up being softer and have a more appealing texture. You could try 3½ cups of peas in this if you want to have more of the delicious sauce. I used a standard size one-pound bag of dried peas last time I made this; there were cooked peas left over, which I froze.
Tamari soy sauce is a premium product made with 100% soy and no wheat, unlike only 40-60% soy in typical soy sauce. This is according to the label on the San-J Organic Tamari soy sauce, which I use in this recipe and which you can find at Publix.
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