Black-eyed peas and mustard greens

There aren’t very many people in Chapel Hill who are actually FROM North Carolina, or the south, so you might not know about the traditional New Year’s day meal of black-eyed peas, mustard greens, and cornbread. Here’s what Dave read aloud from wikipedia before he prepared and served a delicious meal yesterday:

Black-eyed peas are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day in the American South and in some other parts of the USA. The traditional meal also features collard or mustard greens or cabbage. This is supposed to bring good luck and financial enrichment. The peas stand for good luck, the greens symbolize paper money. Cornbread also often accompanies this meal.

These “good luck” traditions date back to the U.S. Civil War. Union troops, especially in areas targeted by General William Tecumseh Sherman, would typically strip the countryside of all stored food, crops, and livestock and destroy whatever they couldn’t carry away. At that time, Northerners considered “field peas” and corn suitable only for animal fodder, and as a result didn’t steal or destroy these humble foods. Many Southerners survived as a result of this mistake.[1]


* 1 1/2 pounds mustard greens
* 4 strips bacon, chopped
* 1 Tbs. canola oil
* one medium onio, chopped fine
* one medium celery stal, chopped fine
* 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
* 2 150z cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
* 1-2 Tbs cider or red wine vinegar
* salt
* freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Wash the mustard greens in several changes of cold water, stripping off the leafy green portions from either side of the tough central stalk. Discard the stalks and rip the leafy portions into small pieces. Shake to remove the excess water.Cook the bacon and oil in a medium dutch oven until the bacon is crisp, about 6 minutes. Add the onion and celery and cook until softened, about 6 minutes.Add 1 cup ctock and mustard greens, stir well and cover the pan. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the greens have wilted, about 4 minutes.Stir in the black-eyed peas and remaining 1/2 cup stock and cover the pan again. Cook, stirring until peas are heated through and the greens are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.Serve immediately with hot cornbread on the side.

One thought on “Black-eyed peas and mustard greens

  1. thronedoggie

    Dadgum Yankees!
    …that’s why The University (that means Alsbama) had to get a basketball team – it’s because of all the Northerners moving down here. If you don’t give them something to keep them busy, then they’ll cut your cornbread into squares and set fire to Atlanta : )

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