Black Eyed Peas – a New Year’s Day Tradition


Do you have any New Year’s Day traditions? Something that you do every year on January 1st? For me it is eating black-eyed peas.  I eat bowls and bowls of black-eyed peas. Not sure where it started but as long as I can remember, New Years Day has been marked with black-eyed peas, cornbread and football.  Eating black eyes peas on New Years Day is supposed to give you good luck and prosperity. Isn’t that what everyone wants when they are venturing into a new and unknown year?


There are different variations on the tradition but it all boils down to the rather Southern tradition that black-eyed peas are supposed to bring you luck and prosperity throughout the coming new year. The tradition dates back all the way to the Civil War, where supposedly black eyed peas were the only southern crop that wasn’t destroyed in the war.  There is even a tradition that you have to eat 365 black-eyed peas which represents every day of the upcoming new year.  I don’t question the tradition, but I do know that I love black-eyed peas and am more than happy to eat them on New Years Day.


So here is my take on the traditional dish. This is not black-eyed peas soup – rather black-eyed peas cooked with bacon, sausage and tomatoes to give it a hearty stew-like consistency. I like to soak my peas the night before. This makes the beans creamier and also helps with digestion. Gross yes,but this helps with that. But if you forget or don’t have time you can either do the quick soak method for the beans, which is just boiling them in water then simmering for about an hour or throw them in with the other ingredients. It will take longer to cook but will work just fine.


Cornbread is the best thing to accompany a bowl of this yummy goodness. I am not sure I could eat a bowl of this without cornbread. Here is my go to recipe . There is something so satisfying and comforting about this dish. It is perfect for winter -it is hearty and should be eaten warm with lots of friends and family and of course some football.


Black Eyed Peas
  • 16 oz dried black eyed peas
  • 1/2 lb pork sausage, removed from casings
  • 3 strips of bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 green chili diced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powered
  • 4 cups of chicken stock

The day before you want to eat the black eyed peas, soak the dried peas in cool water. Place soaking peas in the refrigerator overnight. Discard soaking water when you make the black eyed pea by draining them through a colander

In a medium/large pot fry the bacon until crispy. Remove from pot. Sautee the sausage in the bacon fat breaking up the sausage as it cooks. Remove from pot. Remove all but a couple tabespoon of fat from the pan and saute onion until translucent. Add the whole can of diced tomatoes, as well as the green chile, salt, chili power and black eyed peas. Stir to incorporate then cover the peas with chicken stock. Add the bacon and sausage back to the pot. Simmer beans over medium heat for about 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Add more chicken stock if the beans get to dry.

Season to taste with more salt or pepper if needed. Serve warm.


  1. says

    In W. PA they eat Pork and Sauerkraut which is pretty tasty! Also, lots of people here (a very ethnic city) eat a new years pretzel. My MIL usually invites us over for pork chops and sauerkraut and I make a simple New Years Pretzel with the kids. My mom still makes her black eyed peas, which i love, but also makes collard greens, which I do not love! You recipe sounds great! I have made the black eyed peas in the past but I am the only one who appreciates them :) Hope you had a merry Christmas!

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