Southern Black Eyed Peas

black eyed peas with ham hock

In the south it’s tradition to serve black eyed peas for New Year’s dinner along with greens and cornbread. It’s said the peas bring good luck. Some cooks add a silver dollar to the pot after cooking. The diner who gets the coin in their serving gets an extra measure of good luck. The greens represent money. Now I can tell you by experience this is a big hairy fib. But, oh my, they are so delicious served with crispy corn bread and some sweet onion.

In the south black-eyed peas, crowder peas and field peas are warm-weather annuals that you can harvest is 60 to 90 days. If you have them in your garden, you can use them in this recipe; if not the grocer offers dried peas.

1 ham hock – procure from a butcher, I find the ones in the grocery to be scrawny
1 (16-ounce) package dried black-eyed peas, washed
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste


I use our crock pot to soak and cook my peas. Add water at least 2 inches over peas and soak overnight. The next morning drain and wash the peas again. Return to the crock pot and add water to cover along with the ham hock. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste after the peas are soft.

Black eyed peas make a good cold salad as well as served piping hot. Don’t wait until New Year’s day to make this recipe, enjoy it today.

½ cup of dry beans counts as 1 ounce in the Protein Foods Group or as ½ cup in the Vegetable Group. For a 2,000-calorie diet, the daily recommendation is about 5 ½ ounces.
• ½ cup of black-eyed peas are low in fat, cholesterol-free and provide more than 20% of the daily recommended amount of fiber. (


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