I’m not the kind of person that worries about whether I’m lucky. I do my best and hope for the best but I know that “the rain falls on the just and the unjust” so when my girlfriend says I need to do something on New Year's Day for good luck I wonder about it. 

My girlfriend spent her formative years in Texas and down south there is a tradition, for good luck for the coming year. You eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. This is done throughout the south in one form or another. Every family has its own recipe and hers goes back at least 60 years. 

Here is what you need: 

Time, this is at least an all-day project. 

A big pot, 2 pounds of black-eyed peas, three onions (chopped), 4 or 5 cups of peeled and chopped carrots, Celery (chopped) 3 or 4 cups, 1 Ham shank (ours is from Owens Meats), 3 bay leaves, salt, pepper, Tyme, and Garlic or garlic powder. 

Whole and sliced onions on wooden cutting board

Do you want to know more? 

Presoak your black-eyed peas overnight. The next morning get your big pot hot on the stove and throw all your veggies in, stir them up and add all your seasoning. Keep stirring until the veggies are translucent, don’t let the garlic burn. When the veggies are soft throw in your ham shank (or ham hocks) drain and add the black-eyed peas and add water to the pot until everything is covered by about an inch of water. Put it at medium-low for about three to four hours. Don’t let it boil, it needs to simmer. Every so often skim the top and stir. While this is going on you also need to make some cornbread. 

Corn bread baked in cast iron
Bruce Peter Morin

My girlfriend's tradition goes like this. When it’s done get it off the heat and let it cool as quickly as possible (Outdoors with a tight lid or in the fridge). When it cools down then you divide it up into single-serving containers and spend the next day taking your “good luck” and some cornbread to all your friends. I like mine with a shot of Tabasco.  

Hot sauce on a table
Dejan Markovic

Eat it with rice, eat it with cornbread but be sure to eat it on New Year's Day, and good luck. 

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