Depression Dinners

delicious food for the depression

New Year’s Day Black-eyed Peas and Cabbage

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Being that it’s the new year, and this is my first post, it’s only appropriate that I post a recipe for my traditional new year’s day dish.

In the south, and there are variations of this legend around the world, you eat black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day for good luck.

This year I hosted my 5th annual party to serve the dish, and I think I can say that I’ve just about perfected it. This is the first year I’ve made it with pork, but the vegetarian version is really good too.

Note: a lot of these dishes traditionally call for bacon and bacon fat, and while I use it in some dishes, I often substitute when possible, in consideration of my vegetarian friends (I was a vegetarian for nearly 7 years). I wouldn’t post the results if they weren’t delicious.

black-eyed peas

Black-eyed Peas

New Year’s Eve

1lb. of dried black-eyed peas

-in a large pot, place peas in water. add salt and cayenne pepper to the water, and allow to soak overnight.

New Year’s Day

1 lb. hickory smoked bacon

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped green pepper

1 cup chopped celery – $1.34

4 garlic cloves, chopped – $.41

1  15 oz. can diced tomatoes – $1.25

salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

fresh oregano, chopped fine, to taste -$1.09

fresh thyme, chopped fine, to taste -$1.09


-chop bacon into 1 inch pieces and fry in a skillet.

-sauté onions in olive oil, until they are just starting to turn clear.

-drain water from overnight soaking, then add 5 cups of fresh water to the beans, and bring to a boil. 

-add bacon (and bacon fat)*, onions, green peppers, celery, garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper to beans. lower the heat, and simmer for approximately 2 hours. add fresh oregano and thyme, and simmer for 1 more hour, or until the beans are tender to your liking.

*for a vegetarian option, instead of using bacon, try Old Hickory Smoked Salt.

-serve with 1.5 lbs of white rice.

easily serves 10-12 people.

Braised Cabbage

1 large head of cabbage, chopped into 1 inch strips

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. olive oil

vinegar, such as white wine or sherry, to taste.

what’s left over of the herbs from the beans:

fresh oregano, chopped fine, to taste -$1.09

fresh thyme, chopped fine, to taste -$1.09

salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

-bring a large pot of water to a boil. add up to 4 tablespoons of salt, and the vinegar to the water, so that it tastes like the ocean.

-add cabbage, and let it cook until wilted, but still has some tooth. I usually let it cook for 20-30 minutes.

-drain, then add butter, herbs, salt and pepper, and a little more vinegar, to taste.

I usually start this about the same time that I start the beans, and serve it at room temperature.

Hot Water Cornbread

derived from a recipe given to me by Louis Bickett from Paul Holbrook.

2 cups of stone-ground cornmeal

2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp Old Hickory Smoked Salt

2 tbsp butter

vegetable oil for frying

-in a frying pan, put oil on a medium-high heat. I kept it on 4 out of 6 on my stove.

-mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. I have to admit that I usually make this cornbread in much larger quantities, so the measurements may be a little off, and should be to taste.

-melt butter, and add to mixture.

-bring water to a boil, then add to the batter mixture, until it no longer clumps. but you don’t want it too runny.

-with 2 soup spoons, form the batter into nuggets and drop into the batter. allow to cook until they are a deep golden brown. then remove and place on paper towels to drain excess oil.

in the past, I’ve always underestimated the frying time, but now have it down to about 25 minutes per batch of cornbread. and based on my frying pan, I will have multiple batches to fry, so start the cornbread at least an hour and a half before you plan on serving your meal.


That’s pretty much it, and makes for a very filling meal. Serve it with Maker’s Mark bourbon for a total Kentucky experience.


Written by raymondadams

January 8, 2009 at 3:58 am

Posted in food, recipes

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