" We will open the book. It's pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and it's first chapter is New Year's Day."
-Edith Lovejoy Pierce
.Happy New Year everyone! Like most of you know, eating black eyed peas on New Year's day is supposed to bring good luck. We had some ham and the bone left from Christmas, so I put it to use in this easy, and flexible stew. If you don't have black eyed peas, no big deal, use another bean, like navy, or even kidney beans. I used a bag of dried beans but you could use a few cans of beans instead.
.This recipe makes quite a bit, but it freezes nicely.
Black Eyed Pea Stew
one bag (16 oz.) dried black eyed peas, or 3 cans
one ham bone with 3 cups diced ham
3 carrots chopped into bite sized pieces
3 ribs of celery chopped into bite sized pieces
1 onion chopped
2, 15 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, or 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
if you like some heat, you can add some dried chipotle pepper, or even a tablespoon or so from a small can of chopped chipotle peppers, (the smokiness works well with the smokiness of the ham) if you are using the canned peppers, and aren't familiar with using them, start with a small amount first, (they can get spicy), and adjust to your taste.
Cook the black eyed peas if using dried. I used a crockpot. (I think this is the best way to cook them, because all of the ham flavor gets infused into the black eyed peas.) Add the peas, a tsp of salt, the bay leaves, the ham, the bone and the chopped onion to the crockpot and fill the crockpot almost to the top with water. (I used a 4 quart crockpot.) If using a larger crockpot, I'd start with 8 cups water, add more later if needed.
Cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the peas are soft. If you are using a larger crockpot and have the time, you can add everything else and cook until the carrots and celery are soft. (an additional 3 hours or so.)
I poured it all into an 8 quart pot on the stove and added everything else and cooked for 20 minutes or so, until the vegetables were tender.
If you are using canned black eyed peas, drain the peas and rinse, throw it all in a large pot on the stove, add 4-6 cups water or broth, cook on medium heat for an hour or so, until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have blended. If needed, add water or broth to get the consistency you like.