New Years Day Black Eyed Peas

 Every year on New Years Day we eat Black Eyed Peas & Collard Greens.  Usually along side of a baked Ham & Corn Bread.  The black eyed peas are said to bring you good luck, the collards greens bring you money & the corn bread brings you gold. It's also said to be good luck to eat pork (hence the ham) because birds & cows walk with the feet pushing back but pigs root their snouts upward.  I'm not sure I believe all the superstition but it's a fun (& yummy) tradition that my family loves.  Happy 2011 everyone! 

1 lb dried Black Eyed Peas
1/2 Ham Hock, about 6-7 oz
6 cups of Water
Salt & Pepper

Soak the black eyed Peas in water over night.   
Drain & rinse the peas. 
I bought a 14 oz ham hock & cut it in half.  I froze the other half for another time but you could use the whole thing for a stronger flavor. 
 Add the water (about 6 cups) & the ham hock to a large pot. 
Bring to a boil & cook the ham hock, uncovered, for about an hour; until it is starting to fall apart.

Then add the drained & rinsed peas.
  Cook over medium heat for 2-3 hours, until they are soft & to your desired consistency.
 We like them thick, like a stew so I cook them with the lid slightly on for 2 hours, then remove the lid & cook 1 more hour. 
Some ham hocks render more salt than others.  To avoid over salting, I add salt & pepper towards the end of cooking process.  Remove the hock from the pot before serving.   
 They say that you should eat 365 black eyed peas on New Years Day.  One for each day of the new year.
 Happy New Year- we hope 2011 brings you lots of good luck!!

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