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It’s New Year’s Eve so you better get your black-eyed peas soaking.
One New Year’s Day tradition includes black-eyed peas and cabbage. It is said the peas symbolize prosperity because they swell as they cook and the greens, in this case cabbage, symbolize money.
Other sources say the tradition in the South goes back to the Civil War. When Union troops scavenged the land they left behind black-eyed peas because they saw them only fit to feed to animals. Because they are rich in nutrients, black-eyed peas helped sustain Southerners.
But the food may have been considered lucky much farther back in history than the Civil War. The Jewish Talmud mentions eating black-eyed peas as a part of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
Regardless of the origins, these two foods have been a New Year's Day staple in households for many years.
Much to my grandmothers’ dismay, I haven’t been good at upholding this tradition. In fact, one year I questioned if listening to the music group The Black-Eyed Peas and eating a cabbage egg roll counted as a part of that tradition.
I’m not a fan of just sitting down and eating a bowl of black-eyed peas so a soup recipe sounded more appetizing.
Cooking the dish in a slow cooker made the soup even more appealing. It’s also a relatively inexpensive dish, depending on the brand of sausage used. You also can control the spice level by the type of sausage you choose.
The only prep work is to soak the beans overnight to be ready to make the soup the next day. I am not a fan of celery so I left it out.
It’s a warm tasty dish for any cold winter day.
I ran across the recipe for Fabulous Fried Cabbage a few years ago when preparing a St. Patrick’s Day feast. Before stumbling upon this recipe, I didn’t eat much fried cabbage, but this way of preparing the dish changed my mind.
The combination of the chicken broth and the texture of the cabbage make this dish delish. It’s also very simple to make.
Add some cornbread to either of these dishes and your feast for ushering in 2014 is complete.
Have a wonderful, safe and happy New Year.
Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@ thenewsenterprise.com.
Fabulous Fried Cabbage
2 teaspoons butter
1 (15 ounce) can chicken broth
1 head cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
Bring the butter and chicken broth to a boil in a large skillet. Reduce heat to low and add the cabbage. Cover and cook over low heat to steam the cabbage for about 45 minutes, stirring frequently, or until cabbage is tender and sweet. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Crock Pot Black-Eyed Pea Soup (Adapted from “A Year of Slow Cooking”)
1 pound dried black-eyed peas
1 pound spicy sausage
6 cups chicken broth
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Tabasco sauce (to add at the end to taste)
Soak your beans overnight. Drain and pick out the undesirables (broken, discolored beans) in the morning.
Use a five to six quart slow cooker. This will serve about eight people.
Dice the veggies, and dump them into your slow cooker with the pre-soaked beans. Add sliced sausage. Pour in broth and stir in Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on low for eight hours or on high for about six hours. Before serving, use a stick blender to smash up about 1 cup of beans. If you don't have a stick blender, scoop out 1 cup of beans, blend them in a traditional blender and add back to the soup. Don't blend too much, just enough to get the broth thicker and creamy-looking.
Ladle into bowls and add Tabasco sauce to taste.