This black-eyed pea stew recipe with sausage or ham brings good luck to those who consume it on New Year’s Day, or so says Southern tradition. We make it simply because it brings us sated appetites.
There are countless iterations of black-eyed pea stew recipes in the South. This particular recipe, which can be made with sausage or ham hocks, was handed down through the generations of the Watkins family from Hartsville, South Carolina. Southern legend has it that black-eyed pea stew brings good fortune for the entire year to those who make it part of their menu on New Year’s Day. The good luck isn’t restricted to any one type of black-eyed pea soup, which is fortunate, although we’d bank our entire year’s fortune on the version below. Originally published December 27, 2015.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Why You Don't Need To Soak Black-Eyed Peas Before Cooking
There’s some controversy surrounding whether or not to soak black-eyed peas and other dried beans prior to cooking. Tradition holds that legumes need to be soaked in enough cold water to cover for at least overnight. But hurried home cooks have found that simmering legumes, including black-eyed peas, in twice as much water as a recipe usually requires turns out soups and stews, such as this black-eyed pea stew, that are really quite identical to those in which the beans are first given a time-consuming overnight soak. What a boon for those who—like us—don’t always plan ahead!
Black-Eyed Pea Stew
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 2 H, 45 M
- Serves 6 to 8
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or lard
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 1 1/4 pounds smoked ham hocks or hot Italian sausage links
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- One (14.5-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 quart store-bought or homemade chicken stock
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
- 3 cups cold water
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1. In a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re softened and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ham hocks or sausage and garlic, turn the heat down to medium, and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring often so that the onions soften and wilt but don’t brown.
- 2. Toss the tomatoes into the pot and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes more. Add the stock, black-eyed peas, and 3 cups water. Increase the heat to bring everything to a boil, and stir well. Add the salt and pepper and adjust the heat to maintain a fairly lively simmer. Cover partially and gently simmer, stirring now and then, until the peas are tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. It may be necessary to add additional water if the mixture starts to look more oatmeal-like than stew-like.
- 3. Remove the ham hocks or sausage links and set them on a plate until cool enough to handle. Shred the ham or crumble or slice the sausage and return it to the pot and stir to combine. Serve the stew hot or warm.