Mineral Wells Area News

Black Eyed Peas for a Lucky New Year: The Roots & a Recipe

Black Eyed Peas for a Lucky New Year: The Roots & a Recipe
December 30
10:20 2021

By Bob Kaspar-Special Contributor

​As the sun sets on December 31st, the approach of midnight brings with it the promise of a prosperous New Year. Across the country, countless Americans will welcome 2022 with new hopes, aspirations, and resolutions. We’ll raise our glasses to health and good luck and, here in the Southern United States, many of us will invite the fortunes of fate with a traditional spoonful of black-eyed peas.  

​The exact link between eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day and good luck is somewhat murky. One legend dates back to the Civil War era. Black-eyed peas were originally brought to America from West Africa through the slave trade and in the 1800s, were considered by many to be an undesirable food. As such, they were largely ignored by General Sherman and the Union Army as they gathered or burned other crops on their march through the South. This made black eyed peas the lone reliable food-staple for southern people in the late-war period.

​A similar story is that black-eyed peas owe their fortunate reputation to the original Watch Night.  Watch Night commemorates the New Year’s Eve of 1862. This date changed America, and the world, as on January 1, 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation was set to be enacted. As legend tells, newly-freed people across the south celebrated their freedom with a humble feast of black-eyed peas.

​Another less complex superstition simply states, 

​“Start the year eating poor and you’ll end the year eating rich.”

​Maybe all these myths are true. Maybe none of them are. Whether you’re superstitious or not, digging into a bowl full of delectable black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day surrounded by friends and family should convince anyone that 2022 might be a pretty lucky year after all. Try for yourself by following the simple recipe below.

Happy New Year!

Texan Black-Eyed Peas

4-6 Servings


1lb. Black-Eyed Peas

6 Strips of Bacon, chopped

2 Tbsp. Butter

1 Yellow Onion, diced

2 Jalapeños, chopped

4 Cloves of Garlic, smashed and chopped

1 1/2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Black Pepper

4+ Cups Chicken Stock


1) Place the Peas in a pot with just enough water to cover them and allow them to soak overnight. Rinse them.

2) Lightly fry the Bacon in a large crock pot. Remove the bacon to a plate and reserve the fat in the pot.

3) Melt the butter in the pot and sauté the onion until soft and slightly translucent, about 2 minutes.

4) Add the jalapeños and sauté 2 minutes more.

5) Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

6) Add the salt, pepper, and 1 cup of chicken stock. Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes more, stirring frequently.

7) Stir in the black eyed peas, bacon, and add enough chicken stock to cover the top of the peas.

8) Cover and lightly simmer the peas for 2 hours. Check every 3o minuted to see if water needs to be added to prevent burning and for desired consistency. The peas should easily mash with a spoon.

9) Serve piping hot!