Happy New Year everyone! This is a recipe that is great for New Year's Day as well as any other time. I had never been a huge fan of the black-eyed pea, I think because my mom only served canned ones. I used frozen peas for this and they were delicious. I highly recommend Colonel Paul's Creole seasoning for this recipe. He lives here in Birmingham and is the husband of a very good friend of mine. You can find his seasonings at most local grocery stores.
1 lb frozen black-eyed peas
2 smoked ham hocks
1 medium onion, divided
1 clove garlic (or 1 tsp minced garlic)
2 bay leaves
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped (optional)
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
2 tsp Creole seasoning
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 to 2 cups diced ham
1. In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine the black-eyed peas, ham hocks, and 6 cups water. Chop 1/2 of the onion and add it to the pot along with the garlic and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the beans are tender but not mushy, about 1- 1/2 hours. Remove the ham hocks. Drain the peas and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
2. Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice and cook according to package directions.
3. Mince the remaining onion and add to the rice along with the peas, tomatoes, and their juices, bell pepper, celery, jalapeno pepper, Creole seasoning, thyme, cumin, and salt. Cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in the diced ham.
Serve with hot sauce and freshly baked cornbread.