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Start off the new year with peas

Well, we’re wrapping up another year. This is such a good time of year for reflection; a time to give a special thanks for health, family and friends. It’s like another chapter in your life is about to close.

New Years Eve is when friends come together to celebrate a new year. A tradition for New Years is of course eating black eyed peas. I never was one for eating them on New Years until I moved down to the Gulf. That is where I was finally introduced to this fabulous tradition. I found a couple of different recipes that I’ve personally made and they are great for cooking black eyed peas.

Black-eyed peas with sausage and barbecue sauce

Ingredients:

1 pound dried black-eyed peas

1 pound link sausage, or your favorite

1 small onion, chopped

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup prepared barbecue sauce

Preparation:

Rinse, prepare, soak, and cook peas in about 3 cups water, following directions on the package. Drain and reserve half of the cooking liquid. In a skillet over medium heat, brown sausage and onions; drain off excess fat. Place peas in a 3-quart casserole; add sausage and onions. Stir in reserved liquid, brown sugar, mustard, salt, and barbecue sauce. Bake at 300° for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Use ham hocks or hog jowl in this basic black eyed pea recipe, also known as Hoppin’ John.

Ingredients:

2 pounds dried black-eyed peas

8 ounces hog jowl or 2 small to medium ham hocks

6 cups water water

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon sugar

salt, to taste

Preparation:

Pick over the peas and rinse well, then soak in cold water overnight. Place ham hocks or hog jowl in large kettle with water, bring to boil, and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

Drain peas and add to the hog jowl. Add whole onion, crushed red pepper, sugar, and salt. Add more water if needed to cover peas. Cover tightly and simmer slowly 2 hours or until peas are tender. Serve with hot cooked rice and cornbread. Serves 8.

I hope all of you have a safe and Happy New Years. May God bless each and every one of you. Until next time, have a good day today and a better day tomorrow!

Note: Jennifer Whaley is the chef and owner of Lemon Grass on Highway 80.