For as long as I can remember, my family has always had cabbage and black eyed peas on New Year's Day. I remember sitting around the table at my grandpa's house as a child when he would slip a dollar bill under our plate when we weren't looking. As soon as we would find it, he would excitedly tell us, "see, you ate your black eyed peas and cabbage...that means you're gonna be happy and get rich this year." In our young minds, that was all we needed to hear to make our day!
Fast forward a lot of years to the first New Year's Day Michael and I spent together. He thought I was crazy when I told him that was what we had to eat. He doesn't like either dish and could not be persuaded to try even a spoonful. But that didn't stop me from cooking it! I have usually made a "Hoppin' John" slow cooker recipe overnight so that it would be ready for me to eat but this year, I found Emeril's recipe that has been the best by far!
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large ham hock (could also substitute pickled meat or diced ham)
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 lb black eyed peas (soaked overnight & rinsed)
1 quart chicken stock
1 tsp dry thyme leaves
salt, pepper & cayenne to taste
3 Tbsp finely chopped green onion (I left this out)
3 cups steamed white rice
Heat oil in a large soup pot, add the ham hock, sear on all sides for 4 minutes.
Add the onion, celery, green bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for 4 minutes.
Add the black eyed peas, chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, and seasoning.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer for 40 minutes or until peas are creamy & tender, stir occasionally.
If the liquid evaporates, add more water or stock.
Adjust seasonings and garnish with green onions.
Serve over rice.