“Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens”

In the south, serving black-eyed peas and collard greens are said to bring good luck in the new year. Serving this hearty meal has been a long-standing tradition since the mid 1800’s. So, I give you my version of Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens the way my Mom did for many years. Since my Dad has southern roots, my sister and I were introduced to this meal at an early age.

As I grew older and began cooking more and more for my family, I got first hand tips and tricks from my Mom and my granny. So you could say I have fond memories of eating Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens on New Year’s. But this hearty dish can be made anytime during the winter months since legumes are a healthy addition to any diet. I do find in the spring and summer I don’t make peas and greens as often in this manner but have found other uses like in salads. I will share those recipes later. Stay tuned…

Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens

Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens
Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens – Bringing Good Luck in the New Year

Consequently, the superstition behind eating this dish on New Years’s for good luck is the peas and greens must be served with pork. So if you’re not a pork fan, I’m so sorry. Pork must be included for good luck to hold throughout the year. Hence, the reason for ham hock and bacon is cooked in my peas and greens. However, pork is what gives this dish so much smokey flavor. Delicious I tell ya…

Smoked ham hocks can be found at most supermarkets and use your favorite bacon. Wait until cooking is complete before adding in additional salt because hocks and bacon have their own salt layer. You can’t get rid of too much salt but you can always add more.

Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens

Cook both peas and greens at the same time in two different pots and you’ll have dinner in no time. No need to wait and you can bake a pan of cornbread to accompany your hearty meal. See what I mean…Depending on how many people you’re feeding, freeze any leftovers for those lazy, I have no idea what to fix for dinner days. Always keep individual containers handy for this reason because they’re life savers. Think fall and winter at it’s best kinda food…

So with that being said, my hockey game is about to start and I need to go stir my pots. It’s not to late in the day to start some Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens and don’t forget the corn bread. Grab your favorite bowl and eat up!

Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens
Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens – Happy New Year!


Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens

2 pounds dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight

2 large smoked ham hocks (use 4 if small)

1/2 pound thick sliced bacon, cut into pieces, divided

2 t. kosher salt plus to taste

1 large onion, peeled, left whole and stuck with 2 whole cloves

1 bay leaf

1/2 t. pepper plus more to taste

1/2 t. ground allspice

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 t. crushed red pepper flakes

2 pounds fresh collard greens, cut into 1/2 – 1 inch ribbons (8 cups)

1 bunch green onions, chopped, for garnish

Prepare Black-Eyed Peas: Soak black-eyed peas overnight according to package directions. Drain peas; set aside.  Heat large Dutch oven over medium-high heat then add 1/4 pound bacon pieces. Sauté until fat is rendered and add in peas, covering with 10 cups water. Add in 1 ham hock, salt, onion stuck with cloves, bay leaf, black pepper, and allspice. Turn up heat to boil and stir. Once peas start to boil, turn down heat to simmer, cover and cook peas for about 2 hours. During cook time, periodically check water level ensuring at least 1-inch water is covering peas. Adjust seasoning if necessary and remove ham hock, chop meat removing fat, skin and bone. Place ham hock meat back to Dutch oven. Serve with Collard Greens.

Prepare Collard Greens: In another Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat, sauté remaining 1/4 pound bacon, rendering fat. Add in garlic and pepper flakes to sizzle but do not brown. Stir in chopped collard greens to wilt, seasoning with 1 t. kosher salt and 1 ham hock with 2 cups water or more if needed to cover greens. Cover and cook greens for at least 2 hours or until tender. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Remove ham hock, chop meat, removing skin, fat and bone. Add ham meat back to pot.

Serve with Black-Eyed Peas, sprinkled with green onions and hot cornbread.

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Michelle Heyden Written by: