Looking for a way to "kick up" those black-eyed peas you eat on New Year's day for good luck? This recipe was a prize winner in a recipe contest held by our state newspaper years ago. They called this the "peppiest, meatiest, best mess o' black eyes you're likely to taste!" Frankly, I am not a black-eye fan, but this recipe is so sensational, I gobble it up! I like it best served over cooked rice for a delicious meal. On New Year's Day, however, everyone will want just enough to guarantee good luck for the year to come.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2 lbs black-eyed peas
- 10 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 lbs smoked ham hocks (or 3 large)
- 2 large bay leaves
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
- 1 1⁄2 lbs smoked sausage
- Saute chopped onions in oil in a 3-quart sauce- or soup-pot; set aside.
- Sort peas carefully to remove stones and dirt, rinse well. Dump peas in pot with onion; add half the garlic cloves and the ham hocks, bay leaves, chopped parsley, cayenne pepper, Tabasco sauce and black pepper.
- Cover with water; cook on high until just boiling, and turn down heat to low, to simmer. Add HOT water as necessary to keep peas covered. Stir occasionally.
- Cut smoked sausage into 3/4-inch slices, then cut slices in quarters. After peas have simmered for about 1-1/2 hours, remove ham hocks and set aside to cool. Add sausage and remaining garlic. (It is not necessary to cut up garlic. It'll fall apart -- and your fingers won't smell for days.) When ham hocks have cooled enough to handle, remove skin and discard. Remove meat from bones and gristle from meat. Shred meat and return to pot. Return large bones to pot. Cook on low for another hour or until peas melt in your mouth, keeping them covered with water and stirring as needed to prevent sticking. Peas should be like a bean soup with plenty of liquid, or you can smash up a few peas to create a smooth, thick consistence.
- Carefully, salt to taste. Remove bay leaves and bones. Serve with a dash of vinegar (malt, if possible) and steamed white rice (to cool the palate -- optional). Makes 30 1/2-cup servings. Recipe may be halved. Do not freeze leftovers.