Tradition of peas tolerable in this recipe

Dec. 31, 2012 @ 04:38 PM

As a child, I always turned my nose up to the New Year’s traditions of eating certain foods for good luck. Not because I didn’t believe them, but because I was such a picky eater.

I didn’t like the black-eyed peas and turnip greens with hog jowls that were supposed to give me good luck and good fortune throughout the next year.

I would eat a few of the peas and maybe a fork full of the greens to satisfy my mother or in an effort to ensure the tradition didn’t turn on me.

Even today, I still don’t enjoy a bowl of black-eyed peas. They are a bit too grainy for me in texture.

But several years ago, the American Profile magazine insert in The Mountain Press offered up a great alternative to the pot of peas, by using the peas in a chili that is actually quite tasty.

Though I can’t recall the source, we also have a recipe for Black-Eyed Pea Patties, which are another alternative for a plain serving of black-eyed peas.

My mother will be making a pot of the chili again this year, but since I won’t be home to partake of it, maybe I’ll make a pot of my own. I thought you all would enjoy it as well, so here’s the recipe for that and the patties, along with my wishes for a safe, happy and healthy new year for you all.

Black-Eyed Pea Chili

1 lb. bulk sausage

1 medium onion, chopped

1⁄2 c. chopped celery

4 (15 oz.) cans black-eyed peas, undrained

1 (14 oz.) can diced, unsalted tomatoes, undrained

1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained

2 T. chili powder

Heat a dutch oven over medium-high heat; add sausage. Cook until no longer pink, stirring constantly. Drain sausage on paper towels; discard all but one tablespoon of pan drippings.

Add onion and celery to pan, cook until translucent; stirring constantly. Add black-eyed peas, tomatoes and chili powder.

Stir in sausage. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 30 minutes.

Makes 10 servings.

Black-Eyed Pea Patties

2 (15 oz.) cans seasoned black-eyed peas, drained and divided

2 T. butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

11⁄2 c. cornbread, crumbled

1⁄4 c. mayonnaise

1 large egg, lightly beaten

yellow corn meal

In food processor or blender, puree one can of drained peas; set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and pepper; sauté 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minutes.

In a bowl, combined pureed peas, remaining can of drained peas, onion and garlic mixture. Stir in cornbread; add mayonnaise and egg and stir until well blended.

Shape mixture into 12 patties and dust with cornmeal; place patties on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Cook in batches in hot oil for 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Gail Crutchfield is the community editor of The Mountain Press. Call 428-0748, ext. 212, or e-mail to