The practice eating black eyed peas for luck is believed to have started during the Civil War. First planted for livestock food, and then a food staple for slaves, the fields containing them were ignored by General Sherman as he burned his way through the south. Therefore, giving them a very important role in the lives of surviving Confederates. Still today, many homes in the south will include these little gems on their New Year's table along with greens, cornbread or even stewed tomatoes.
So if you are hosting a big dinner to ring in 2013 or like me are just in constant need of new and interesting side dishes to keep your family satisfied, keep these in mind!
Black Eyed Peas with Bacon From Taste of Home
1 lb. dry black eyed peas
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled, set aside a little for garnish
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 TBS butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large pot, place peas and cooked bacon. Add water, just to cover. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. DO NOT DRAIN Allow to soak for 1 hour. In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add onions. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook 1 more minute. Add to pea mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook 30 minutes, covered, until peas are tender, stirring frequently. Remove with a slotted spoon. Garnish with extra bacon.