Here in the south, black-eyed peas are a staple when bringing in the New Year. Funny enough, my mother was actually telling me the story this morning of how black-eyed peas became known in the south as a symbol of 'good luck'. Apparently though, there's a lot of stories out there that tie black-eyed peas and luck to one another.
No matter the actual and factual truth, having black-eyed peas on New Year's day has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. Seriously, my mom wouldn't let us go to bed on New Year's day until we had at least one spoonful of what were then plain old canned black-eyed peas.
Thankfully, as soon as cooking came into my life our take on black-eyed peas changed. It sort of became my mission around New Year's to create better-for-you and delicious ways to enjoy black-eyed peas.
One of the best ways to get some flavor into these 'dirt peas', as my dad so lovingly calls them, is to infuse them with a hambone in the cooking process. Another helpful thing I've found is to add a lot of other flavors into the mix. Hide 'em! Hide those peas!
I've been saving my ham hocks through Thanksgiving and Christmas as I do every year with knowing that I'd be using them forelock eyed peas or beans in one way or another. If you don't have a hambone on hand, feel free to omit it all together or merely add in some diced ham to get the same added flavor that the bone provides.
As mentioned below, I prefer to wrap my ham hock in cheese cloth to keep it all together for an easy removal once the black-eyed peas are done cooking.
At the end of the day you end up with a taste take on black-eye peas that are sure to be a hit - even for the black-eye pea naysayers. And trust me, I have a lot of black-eyed pea haters in my family, most of which I have somehow managed to convert over the past couple of years.
Healthified Hoppin' John (Crock Pot)
Servings: 6 • Size: About 1 1/2 Cup • Calories: 197.3 • Fat: 3.7 g • Carb: 31.3 g • Fiber: 7.5 g • Protein: 10.7 g • Sugar: 8.3 g • Sodium: 533.3 mg
5 C. Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
4 C. Black Eyed Peas, Washed & Pre-soaked
1 Ham Hock
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Red Bell Pepper, Seeded & Chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, Seeded & Chopped
2 Celery Stalks, Chopped
1 (14.5 Oz.) Can Diced Tomatoes (No Salt Added), Drained
1 Jalapeno, Seeded & Minced
2 Slices Low Sodium Center Cut Bacon
2 Tbsp. White Vinegar
1/4-1 Tsp. Ground Cayenne
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Place everything into the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.
Once done, remove the hambone.
I like to wrap my ham hock in cheese cloth to keep it from falling apart in the cooking process.
Divide evenly among bowls and enjoy right away!
I served mine over a rice and quinoa medley with baby spinach and baby kale.