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Lucky New Year: Black-Eyed Peas

With the New Year, January 1st brings an opportunity to throw out the old and ring in the new. It’s the perfect time to jot down goals for the year and make a fresh start on how you are going get back on the road to accomplishing your dreams. But along with all of the planning and organizing, who says food can’t play a little luck in your corner to give your new year a little boost. Although food traditions vary within different cultures, one popular tradition is the consumption of good ol’ black-eyed peas. In general, legumes – which include beans, peas, and lentils – symbolize money. Their small, seed-like appearance resembles coins – and when cooked – are supposed to be eaten with financial rewards in mind. What started in the southern part of the country has now spread throughout the US, with many following the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. In fact, some believe that eating one pea for every day in the new year, will throw extra luck their way. Wonder where the tradition derived from…it traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi ran out of food while under attack. The residents then discovered black-eyed peas, and the saying goes that the legumes were the “lucky charm”.

So, to spread a little luck your way for the New Year, enjoy these black-eyed pea recipes from Camellia. You’ll find that a few even contain some additional “good luck” ingredients to make your year extra nice, including collards and pork. A simple reason cooked greens – such as collards, kale, cabbage, and chard are eaten at New Year’s in different countries: the green leaves look like folded money, symbolizing economic fortune. It’s widely believed that the more greens someone eats, the greater their fortune will be that year. On the other hand, pork symbolizes progress. A few reasons pork makes the list is that the animal “pushes” forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving; however, when consumed in the United States, it is thanks to the rich fat content that signifies wealth and prosperity.

New Year’s Day Blackeye Pea One-Pot Meal (pictured above)

Makes 10 to 12 servings



2 pounds Camellia Blackeye Peas, soaked overnight

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

4 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

1 pound ground turkey

1 pound lean ground pork

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (such as Lee & Perrin’s gluten-free brand)

Creole seasoning

1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil

1/4 cup of red or white wine

2 cups cooked brown or white long-grain rice

Buttermilk biscuits for serving (your favorite gluten-free brand or mix!)



1. Rinse and drain the beans twice. Set aside.

2.  Add the olive oil to a skillet set over medium to high heat.

3.  Add one third of the onion and 1 tablespoon of the garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.

4. Add the ground turkey and the ground pork. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the meat is thoroughly browned, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add the blackeye peas to a large Dutch oven, preferably cast iron, and cover with 2 1/2 inches of water.

6. Add the meat mixture, the remaining onion and garlic, the Worcestershire, Creole seasoning to taste, basil, wine and the rice.

7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until peas are soft, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add additional water if necessary.

8. Serve with buttermilk biscuits.


camellia blackeye pea gumboNew Year’s Pork, Collard and Blackeye Pea Gumbo

Makes 12 to 15 servings



1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour

1 cup vegetable oil or bacon fat

2 large onions, finely diced

1 medium green bell pepper, finely diced

1 rib celery, finely diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 gallons rich, unsalted pork or chicken stock

4 slices hardwood smoked bacon, sliced

1 bunch collard greens, washed and sliced into ribbons

1 white onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

Louisiana-style hot sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups cooked Camellia Blackeye Peas

1 1/2 pounds smoked, pulled pork (not with barbecue sauce), shredded

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

3 bay leaves, preferably fresh

Filé powder

Creole seasoning

Hot cooked rice

French bread for serving (your favorite gluten-free brand!)



1. Add the oil or bacon fat to a very large Dutch oven, preferably cast iron, set over medium heat.

2.  Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly. (If you are a confident, skilled cook by all means cook at high temperature. If not, lower the temperature to maintain more control of the roux.) You must stir constantly until the roux is a deep rich brown. This could take a while—as long as an hour, but it’s worth it.

3. Just before the roux’s color reaches a dark-mahogany brown, add the diced onion, green bell pepper, celery and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. The roux will continue to darken and, after a few minutes, the vegetables will caramelize.

4. Add the stock to the roux and, while stirring frequently, bring it to a simmer.

5.  Continue to stir the liquid frequently, allowing it to simmer for about 1 hour.

6. Skim off any fat that rises to the top. If the stock is too thick, add more of it until the desired consistency is reached.

7. While the stock is simmering, fry the bacon slices in a skillet until crisp.

8. Remove the slices and drain on paper towels, leaving the rendered fat in the skillet.

9. Add the collard or mustard greens and diced onion to the hot bacon fat and sauté until the greens are wilted.

10. Crumble the bacon and combine it with the greens and onion.

11. Then stir in the sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked collards, blackeye peas, shredded pork, thyme, bay leaves, filé powder and Creole seasoning to taste.

12. Return to a simmer and adjust the seasonings to taste.

13.  Serve over hot cooked rice with French bread.


camellia blackeye pea new orleansNew Orleans-Style Blackeye Peas

Makes 8 servings



1 (1-pound) package Camellia Brand Blackeye Peas

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound pickled pork, cubed to ½ inch

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper

3 ribs celery, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

10 cups lightly salted water or chicken broth

2 bay leaves

Saltpepper and/or hot sauce, to taste

Hot cooked rice

Hot buttered French bread (your favorite gluten-free brand)

1 bunch green onions, sliced



1. Sort beans, removing debris and broken pieces; place in a large bowl. Rinse beans under running cold water until water runs clean. Cover beans with one inch of cold water; let stand at least 8 hours or until needed (do not soak longer than 24 hours). Completely drain beans before cooking.

2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add pickled pork; sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Add onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic and tomato paste; sauté 15 minutes. Add water and bay leaves; bring to a boil.

3. Add soaked beans; stir well. Return to a low boil; cover with lid, reduce heat to low and simmer 1½ to 2 hours or until the peas are tender, stirring occasionally.

4. If a creamier texture is desired, use the back of a spoon to mash up to one-fourth of the tender beans and stir well. Taste; adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and/or hot sauce.

5. Serve hot over hot cooked rice with hot buttered French bread. Garnish generously with green onions.


camellia blackeye pea bessiesBessie’s Best New Year Blackeyes

Makes 6 servings



1 (1-pound) package Camellia Brand Blackeye Peas

1/2 pound seasoning meat

1 large onion, chopped

6-8 cups water

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil (optional)

Salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 pinch sage (optional)

1 toe garlic, chopped



1. Rinse and sort peas. Cover with water, add meat, and simmer about 1 hour.

2. Sauté onion and garlic in butter or olive oil, add to other ingredients and cook 1/2 hour, or until soft.

3. Serve with long grain rice.