This is an easy and tasty crockpot black-eyed pea dish for New Year's Day or any everyday family dinner. Black-eyed peas are a Southern tradition for New Year's Day. There are multiple theories about how this tradition began, a couple of them relating to the Civil War. But whatever the source, if you grew up in the South, you likely were served black-eyed peas for New Year's Day.
The symbolism that gets passed along is that the black-eyed peas swell, which is a sign of growing prosperity in the new year. Black-eyed peas are not peas, they are a bean that is a subspecies of the cowpea. Heirloom varieties of black-eyed peas grow throughout the South. Some of them have eyes that are other colors, such as brown, red, pink, or green. The black-eyed peas are green when they are first shelled, then they fade to buff as they are dried.
This recipe uses frozen black-eyed peas. You can also find fresh black-eyed peas and dried black-eyed peas. Either would work, but it would be wise to soak the dried peas overnight before adding them to the crockpot.
- 1 pound frozen black-eyed peas
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch (6 to 8) green onions, thinly sliced
- 6 ounces diced ham
- 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
- Slice the celery and green onions, mince the garlic, and dice the ham.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
- Serve in a bowl along with some of the cooking liquid.
For a traditional Southern New Year's Day meal, serve the black-eyed peas with collard greens, corn bread, and a pork chop.
You can use other meat than ham to flavor the black-eyed peas. Salt pork, bacon, or pork sausage could substitute for the ham.