1 1/2 cups black-eyed peas: $0.70
2 bunches collard greens: $5.00
2 strips bacon (pro-rated): $1.50
Pantry items: Olive oil, dried chile, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, paprika, salt, rice.
Total cost (for 4 portions): $7.20
I make these black-eyed peas with herbs all year round, but on the first of the year they're a must. With rice and greens, you have a complete modest meal (or inexpensive sides for an inexpensive pork shoulder, if you're expecting a carnivorous crowd). Cornbread, which practically makes itself, is another good addition.
Bunches of collard greens vary so wildly in size that I've specified two, but if you find a large bundle then one should do. (To head off any questions about my shopping list—I eat nice bacon, and it isn't cheap.) Although I didn't grow up eating black-eyed peas and greens on New Year's Day, and I'm not superstitious, I have to admit that the years since I've adopted this tradition have been especially sweet. Why not try it yourself?
Black-Eyed Peas with Herbs
- 1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 whole dried hot red chile
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
Pick over the black-eyed peas, wash, and drain. In a large pot, bring the peas and 4 1/2 cups water to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low, and simmer gently until the peas are tender. The time this takes can vary greatly, from 20 to 40 minutes or more, so start checking early.
Put the oil in a large frying pan or deep saucepan and heat over a medium-high flame. When hot, add the chile and stir once; then add the garlic and stir once. Pour the black-eyed peas with all their cooking liquid into the pan of oil and add the bay leaves, oregano, thyme, paprika, and salt. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, on low heat for 20 minutes. Serve hot.