Happy 2015 everyone! As I reflect on 2014, I can say that it has certainly been a year of great joys, and great tribulations, as well. Thankfully, however, the year has ended on a joyous note so I am feeling truly blessed and looking forward to a new year and new beginnings.
I am not an overly superstitious person by nature, but I have always observed New Year’s day with the preparation of “good luck” foods. My favorites have always been in keeping with the southern tradition of serving black-eyed peas with rice and collard greens, and a nice big, buttery hunk of corn bread on the side (real butter only please). It is said the black-eyed peas represent prosperity due to their similarity (and abundance) to the penny and collard greens represent “green money”. That’s a definite plus in my book, so I will continue on each year with these superstitious traditions in the hopes that they come true.
I decided what better way to celebrate a new year and new beginnings than by sharing with you my favorite New Year’s Day Dish: Lucky Black-Eyed Peas with Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Smoked Turkey. I created this recipe several years ago as a replacement to the traditional Hoppin’ John. Don’t get me wrong, Hoppin’ John is very good too, but, well, I decided I wanted to “kick it up a notch”…and….so….I did!
How did I do that you may be asking? Well, my dears, quite simply, I decided that the addition of fire roasted tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, hickory smoked bacon, smoked turkey, and additional seasonings were just the ticket to creating a fabulous dish of Black Eyed Peas. And, oh, I was so very happy with the final dish. This truly takes the oft-overlooked, and sadly neglected, black-eyed pea to a whole new level.
For those of you who are vegetarians this also makes a very delicious and nutritious vegetarian meal. Simply omit the bacon and turkey and substitute veggie base or stock in place of the the chicken called for in the recipe.
Give this recipe a try ya’ll, I swear you will not be disappointed.
Lucky Black-Eyed Peas with Smoked Turkey:
Yield: 8 generous servings
4 slices Applewood or Hickory Smoked Center-Cut (thick) Bacon, chopped
1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped (approx. 2 cups) (note – I cut all the veggies into big chunks being that they will cook down as they simmer)
3 large carrots, coarsely chopped (approx 2 cups)
3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped (approx. 1 cup)
1 tbs minced ginger
1 tbs minced garlic
1 large sweet potato, coarsely chopped (approx. 2 cups)
2 cups black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
10 cups cold water
1-1/2 tbs Better Than Bouillon Superior Touch Chicken Base (see note below)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (2-3 tsp hot sauce can also be used in place of the red pepper flakes)
4 Smoked Turkey Wings (or 2 Smoked Turkey Drumsticks)
Note – for those of you who may not be familiar with Better Than Bouillon Superior Touch Chicken Base I strongly urge you to give this a try as it makes a great alternative to chicken stock or broth and I use it frequently where a large volume of broth or stock is called for rather than using bouillon. I was sold on it the very first time I used it and I haven’t looked back since. The flavor is amazing and there simply is no comparison between this and bouillon cubes, although you may use chicken broth in place of the water in this recipe if you do not have the chicken base.
Saute bacon over medium high heat in a 6 quart dutch oven (or equal sized stock pot) until fat renders. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Saute until slightly tender (5-7 minutes). Add minced ginger and garlic and continue stirring for an additional minute. Add sweet potato and next eight ingredients, stirring well. Place the smoked turkey into the pot, pushing down to ensure that the turkey parts are covered with water (or broth, if using). If they are not, add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring frequently and skimming foam from the surface. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully remove the turkey, allowing it to cool slightly. Remove the meat from the bones and tear into bite sized pieces. Return turkey to the pot and stir to incorporate. Serve over rice, if desired, along with collard greens and corn bread for a truly delicious New Year’s dinner.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. It is truly one of my favorites.
May you enjoy this New Year’s day surrounded with loved ones and good cheer, and may all your hopes and dreams be fulfilled in this wonderful new year!