I ate black-eyed peas and greens on New Year's Day. I don't like black-eyed peas, but it's traditional to eat it in the South. My mother disliked them too, but we always had them New Year's Day. Why court disaster, when there is so much of it out there in the world? If available here in the Central Valley of California, I would use purple hull crowder peas instead. They belong to the same family as the nasty black-eyed pea, but they taste so much better.
As I understand it, black-eyed peas represent coins and the greens stand for dollars. If you eat poor on the first day of the new year, you will be rich the rest of the year. I made Hoppin' John because Bob likes his black-eyed peas with rice. And I made cornbread for me, to go with my collards, which I love. I know many people think Southerners cook greens to death. Well, we don't. We braise some types of greens a long time until their flavor develops. I once saw Jacques Pepin do that to butter lettuce and no one ever said he was abusing it!
I switch back and forth between the way I cook Hoppin' John. This year, I added the rice to the peas while they were cooking. But, I prefer the peas cooked separately and served over the rice. I'll do that next year. I sometimes add coconut milk and chilies, which is what I did this time. I still didn't like it very much. But, Bob polished it all off and told me it was delicious. This is a Colin Cowie recipe I found years ago. The peas still taste dirty to me.
Note: This year, I found some nice fresh peas and that shortened the cooking time considerably. Don't use this recipe with dried peas.
Caribbean Hoppin' John
1 cup fresh black eyes peas, well picked over
1 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 serrano chili, seeded and well chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups water
In a medium saucepan combine the peas, chili, salt, rice, coconut milk, and the water Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.