Black eyed peas are traditionally served on New Year's Day for good luck. Since they swell when cooked, they symbolize prosperity for the New Year. They are served with some sort of pork product, symbolizing positive forward motion, since pigs root forward when foraging for food. Also eaten on New Years are greens (turnip, mustard, or collard) which symbolize money. There are two schools of thought on the origin of this custom which was adopted around the time of the American Civil War. In one, the practice was adopted after General Sherman's troops wiped out all food supplies he came across in the South. The "field peas" were spared because the Northeners considered them only fit for animal fodder. The other thought is that the practice dates back to ancient Babylonia where the New Year's table contained Qara (calabash squash or bottle gourd), Rubiya or Lubiya (black-eyed peas), Kartei (leeks), Silka (spinach or beet greens), and Tamrei (dates) and was brought to the US in the 1730's by Sephardic Jews that settled in Georgia. The practice of eating black-eyed peas caught on around the time of the Civil War.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1⁄2 lb andouille sausage, chopped
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock or 2 cups chicken broth
- 14 1⁄2 ounces tomatoes (canned) or 14 1⁄2 ounces tomatoes with mild chilies, diced (canned)
- 15 1⁄2 ounces black-eyed peas (canned)
- 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
- fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 green onions, chopped
- cornbread or corn muffin, for serving
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat and brown sausage for about 2 minutes; add ground pork and brown for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add celery, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in chicken stock or broth, tomatoes, black-eyed peas, hot sauce, thyme, chili powder, paprika, and coriander; bring to a boil, then turn down heat and cook about 10 minutes.
- Garnish with green onions and serve with corn bread or corn muffins.