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Ring in the New Year With Skillet Black Eyed Peas

Every year I tell myself I am not going to wait until the next new year to make this dish — it is just too simple and flavorful to only eat on New Year's Day. But this is the resolution that always fails. Here another year has passed, and I only made this one time in 2012. You guessed it, it was January 1st, 2012. But putting the past aside, I plan to try again this year. Eating black eyed peas on New Year's Day is a Southern tradition that is celebrated in several ways — one is to add a coin (generally a penny) to any dish with black eyed peas, and the person who gets the coin is supposed to gain the most wealth in the new year. Today I'd like to share my super simple recipe for skillet black eyed peas, penny optional.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage (casing removed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1 can diced or stewed tomatoes (not drained)
  • 2 cans black eyed peas (only one of the cans drained)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First fry the sausage in the olive oil, breaking it up with a spatula or fork as it cooks. Remove from the pan when brown and crumbly, reserving any pan drippings, and add your onions and green pepper. Fry these lightly as they should continue to have some crispness. Add your black eyed peas and tomatoes, stirring to combine and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Return the sausage to the pan, stir to combine and continue to heat thoroughly.

Serve this directly from the cast iron pan with some toasted cornbread and butter. I have made several variations in the past — some of which included substituting sweet Italian sausage and adding jalapeño. I have also served it with chili toppings (cheddar, sour cream, fresh sliced jalapeños), and highly recommend it.

What traditions do you have in your family to bring luck as you enter in to the New Year? My resolution this year is to make this dish at least once more before the start of 2014 — wish me luck!