Every year when I was growing up, my mother force fed us black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. What can I say? We're southern and it's a tradition thing. It's supposed to bring you good luck for the upcoming year. But, what eating 'dirt peas' has anything to do with a new year or good luck... escapes me entirely.
The peas were often straight from a can and without any seasoning of any kind. Usually served on the side of some sort of ham. While my mother enjoyed the out dated and rather odd tradition... the rest of us could barely stomach the one spoonful a year which we struggled down just to put a smile on my mom's pretty face. Love you, Mom!
Fast forward several years.
As New Year's rolled around I was scouring the web with ideas on how to cook up some black-eyed peas in a more tasteful manner. Finally, I came across a gumbo recipe. Ah-hah! How perfect!
I've been making this recipe for a few years now. I've made quite a few adjustments and additions to suit my taste. There's more spices, more vegetables, and evens some ham added in there for flavor!
I think the only thing that I may do differently next time will be to swap the canned peas for some dried ones that I can simmer all day in the crock pot or on the stove for a few hours longer... similarly to what I do with My Great-Grandma's Red Beans.
Everyone at the table enjoyed it and went back for seconds. Yes, even the super finicky eaters among the group!
Black-Eyed Pea Gumbo
Servings: 10 • Size: About 1 Cup • Calories: 216 • Fat: 3 g • Carb: 38.6 g • Fiber: 8.3 g • Protein: 10.3 g • Sugar: 6.7 g • Sodium: 537.6 mg
2 Tbsp. Light Butter
1 1/2 C. Fresh Okra, Sliced into 1/2" Pieces
1 Medium White Onion, Minced
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
5 Celery Stalks, Sliced
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
4 - 14.5 Oz. Cans Black Eyed Peas
3 C. Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
14.5 Oz. Can No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes
10 Oz. Can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles (Rotel)
1 C. Instant Brown Rice, Dry & Uncooked (I used a brown & red rice mix with quinoa.)
1 C. Cooked Ham, Chopped or Cubed
1 1/2 Tsp. Dried Thyme
1 Tsp. Dried Oregano
1/4 Tsp. Cayenne
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Place the butter, okra, onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic into a large stock pot and cook on medium low for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add in the remaining ingredients and bring the contents of the pot to a boil. Stir on occasion.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Add in the rice, cover and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
Once the rice is done, remove the bay leaf.
Serve warm and enjoy!